A woman astrophysicist’s disappointing experience at airport security has set off a huge debate surrounding gender bias and outlook of people towards women in the scientific field. California-based Amber Roberts, an astrophysicist and an artificial intelligence program director, was recently “talked down” by a random guy when she took out not one but two laptops from her bag.
Talking to Twitter, she shared the incident online with hashtags #WomenInSTEM and #womenintech saying, “*I take out both of my laptops at airport security* Random guy: *scoffs* “What do you need 2 laptops for?” Me: “Well one is for my astrophysics work and one is for my artificial intelligence work.”
The tweet which meant to highlight the prejudices started trending on Reddit, however, not for the reason she liked.
“I am now trending on r/Iamverysmart. If anyone is curious as to why women might feel unwelcome in tech, check it out. To be clear about the guy asking about my laptops he was talking down to me using a patronizing voice, he also asked twice believing I owed him an explanation,” she wrote in another tweet. She also highlighted how “no one is commenting on the fact that the guy didn’t deserve an answer, but are focusing on why I don’t need two laptops.” Many also raised questions about her ability and many added, “There is no way ‘this girl’ could be considered an expert in both fields.”
She underlined that she was not the first or the only one facing this kind of discrimination or prejudices on an everyday basis and said she wants others to keep this in mind when they try to get more women involved in tech.
Her Twitter thread is now going viral and many shared a similar experience and weighed in the situation. Few also said maybe there wasn’t a gender bias and the man was just intrigued.