I will admit that it is really tempting to use this blog as a venting space, especially for the little things that grate that non-academics wouldn't understand and I can't complain about to colleagues. In order to balance out some of the negativity, here are 5 advantages I've found from personal experience to attending conferences as woman in a male dominated field:
1. No bathroom lines. Bonus: During short coffee breaks, there is sometimes a line for the men's room, so you get to enjoy that little role-reversal.
2. When you present, people remember you more easily, as in "I enjoyed your talk--you were the woman who presented this morning. Can I ask you a few questions?"
3. If you present at a small conference while hugely pregnant, people will remember you for many years, even with only minor interactions at the meeting.
4. You are easier to find in the crowd, so it is easier to run into old friends and colleagues at coffee breaks without necessarily prearranging things.
5. Vendors in the exposition will sometimes break out the good swag and/or give you multiple valuable samples (but getting hit on by the vendors is otherwise annoying).
Now I am mid-career
2 days ago