On the other hand, environmental policy and climate science tend to be dominated by men.
I'm interested in both. I try and practice personal environmentalism, but professionally, I'd like to do policy work. Of course the work I'm interested in is more related to environment and international development, which is actually a little less sex-segregated, but even then I can sometimes find myself the lone woman in a room full of men.
This is a pretty novel experience for me. There are a lot of problems with the television industry, but it's not an industry dominated by men. There are women in high levels of power throughout the industry. There are reasonable numbers of senior agents who are women, and there are even more high level women executives within the television networks and studios.
So, this switching fields has taken a little getting used to. And one of the things that I've noticed, repeatedly, is that I sometimes find myself insecure about my knowledge base.
Look, I know I'm smart. And I know that I know a lot. But you can't know everything about all things environment, and I've only been involved in environmental affairs for a couple of years. So often, if I get in a discussion about a subject that I don't consider myself an expert on, I find myself ceding ground to the other party. I mean, what do I know? I don't, really. I don't have a PhD. There are a lot of articles I haven't read. I don't know every idea.
I also assume that other people know more than I do a lot of the time.
But I've noticed that a lot of the men I've conversed with don't shy away from discussing things that they don't know much about. They seem more authoritative and confident, and yet, after a ten minute conversation it becomes clear that they don't know more about the subject than I do.
I've found myself falling into the trap of thinking that I should just keep my thoughts to myself until I've read more, studied more, worked more. I doubt myself and my abilities more than I ever had before.
I know some of this is grad school and the fact that I'm really being challenged, that I'm surrounded by so many brilliant people. But I also never feel this self-doubt when I'm talking to a group of really brilliant women.
I've read enough feminist studies to know that I'm not unique in my feelings of doubt and insecurity. I know that I can't let my insecurities stop me from speaking up; I know that I have to keep pushing myself and believing myself even if I am the sole woman in a room with fifteen other men. But it's easier said than done.