Throughout my career, I’ve perceived a double standard towards women in science regarding behavior at scientific meetings. For those of you who aren’t professional scientists, the after-hours parts of meetings are very important for one’s career and scientific opportunities. Like it or not, the ‘non-science’ parts of the social construct of Science matter a great deal. Being a successful scientist isn’t just about your research. But back to the double standrard.
If a male scientist goes to a meeting, and, after hours, goes crazy, he is viewed as a ‘works hard, plays hard’ type of guy. If he’s flirty, he’s seen as a charming rogue (at least when he’s somewhat successful). In fact, his ‘social stock’ might even rise.
I don’t think it works this way for women.
My perception has been that if a female scientist at a meeting parties hard and flirts, she is viewed as a ‘party girl.’ In other words, she is no longer viewed as a scientist with an interesting social life, but as ‘a good time’ (although perhaps not sexually).
Mind you, I think this double standard sucks. But if my perception is correct, I’m not sure what we (including male scientists) can do about it, other than not be assholes (which would be a good start).