11 things you’ll only relate to if you’re a girl on a male-dominated course

Computer science girlies I’m so sorry x

Whether it’s philosophy, physics, or engineering – being a woman on a course filled with boys can feel like an uphill battle against a mountain of testosterone. Chances are, your lecturers and professors are also mostly men, meaning it can be easy to feel isolated and endlessly frustrated. Here are some of the things you’ve probably experienced if you’re on a male-dominated course:

1. Being spoken over in tutorials

A lot of male students, particularly at Russell Groups, assume they know more about their subject than most Nobel Prize winners. Shockingly, this is often not the case, and you’re left trying to explain to them exactly how they’re wrong.  What’s worse, having what you said repeated by a guy in order for it to be listened to is a total nightmare, but all too common.

2. Being scared to make a mistake

Because doing a problem sheet isn’t hard enough already, without being scared of messing up. It’s easy to feel as though you are under a microscope when you’re surrounded by people to whom you represent all women. It can feel like you’re ‘letting the side down’ if you make a mistake, as there’s the added fear they’ll project your error onto women as a whole.

3. Being judged for not knowing everything about coding

Despite the stereotype of tech nerds as badly dressed and antisocial, knowing how to code and knowing how to dress well are not mutually exclusive!


i was not put on this earth to know this much about cars 😭😭 #stem #stemmajor #cs #compsci #womeninstem #femme #fyp #wlw #nyc

♬ original sound – user27925103784

4. ….Or how to use Discord

Sorry to all the Discord users out there, but I should NOT be judged for not understanding the need to join your Discord server. Why isn’t a WhatsApp group enough?

5. Always being the coolest person in class without trying

The bar, thankfully, is on the floor when it comes to being the best-dressed person in lectures. You don’t need to constantly be scouting Vinted for a super cool jacket and scarf combo – a simple t-shirt and jeans will be enough to beat pretty much the whole lecture theatre.

It’s easy to slay on the science campus

6. Having to gentle-parent your classmates

Trying to convince your guy friends to drink water, stop going on TikTok, and remember to have a snack during your 12-2pm workshop isn’t a skill I thought I would develop at uni, but it’s an added bonus of being a woman in STEM.

7. Nagging imposter syndrome

It’s disheartening to hear your friends put down their abilities in the subject, and dull down how much work you know they’ve put into something. We’re scared of being revealed to be frauds, in a way our male friends just aren’t.

Work I probably denied doing x

8. Hanging out is really boring

Your heart sinks when you run into a guy from your course on a night out and know he’ll spend the evening confiding in you about how he hates the lecturers. Even worse is when they want you to join in bitching about “the loud girls in the front row” – which he hasn’t realised is in fact you and your friends. Also, why are we going out if not to forget we study physics?

9. Being obsessed with any female lecturers you have

The women who have taught my classes essentially became micro-celebrities, because there’s such little representation to the class.

10. Playing devil’s advocate


11. Having to pretend to care about Elon Musk

Try asking them “Isn’t that Grime’s ex-husband?” if you fancy a laugh.

It’s important to say, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of guys who make the classes way better, and it’s a lot more manageable once you have a friend group on your course. More and more enterprises are being set up to tackle gender discrimination in the classroom and people are finally starting to take it seriously. Luckily, most uni’s have societies for Women in STEM, and there’s an immediate bond with other women as you roll your eyes at one another from across the classroom.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

We asked students what it’s actually like to be a woman in STEM

Young women working in film and TV share their experiences of sexism in the industry

‘Women bring down the grade average’: Lancs students on sexism in STEM subjects