STEM College Student Goes Viral Showing Male Peers’ Repeated Interruptions
The 22-year-old University of Iowa graduate student Claire McDonnell went viral over a short clip of her attending a video call for a group project, where her male classmates can be heard talking over her repeatedly and dismissing her ideas over and over again.
McDonnell is one of only four women among nearly 60 men enrolled in a graduate science and finance program at the University of Iowa. The video resonated with many women around the world who have chosen to pursue a career in male-dominated industries.
Initially, McDonnell only wanted to send the clip to a friend and fellow woman in the program. However, she realized that her video was a strong example of “how often this happens to women in a male-dominated field,” she told Buzzfeed.
The video, which was published on TikTok, quickly accrued over 2.4 million views.
Zoom Meeting Gone Wrong
Her video, labeled “live footage of being a woman in stem,” shows McDonnell trying to participate in the discussions and providing her input. She quickly becomes frustrated when her male counterparts continue the dialogue without giving her room to speak.
“My male classmates love listening to my input and letting me finish my sentences. True respectful kings,” McDonnell wrote in the video caption.
To add to her frustration, McDonnell explained that she had worked in commercial underwriting for years and arguably had the most work experience in the group for the assignment.
Sexism in STEM
“As a woman in STEM…I’m HEATED but not surprised,” one user commented.
“This is the most relatable thing I’ve ever seen :/ I’m so sorry queen I’m so proud of you,” another added.
“Drop the zoom link I will yell at them,” another said.
Gender equality remains a serious issue for many universities. In STEM degree programs, which have traditionally been populated by males, it can be perpetuated by peers and professors alike. The discrimination can push women away from STEM majors and as a consequence, lock them out of related professions in the future.