This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, the New America Foundation, and Slate. On Thursday, March 27, Future Tense and New America’s Breadwinning and Caregiving Program will host From Nowhere to Nobels: Pathways to Success for Women in STEM in Washington, D.C. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.
In the mid-’70s, I was a graduate student at the University of Alberta and attended my first mathematics conference. It was a special two-day session on the geometry of Banach spaces—truly fascinating stuff. Each speaker talked for 20 minutes followed by a 10-minute break when everyone in the (mostly male) audience chatted. Everyone except me because I knew no one—and worse, I was convinced that everyone could tell that I didn’t belong.
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