I just read this article in The Independent about a research student who generally knew "something was wrong", but couldn't nail down why she was getting the cold-shoulder for jobs, etc. Using a GDPR request, she got her academic advisor's emails, and found they had been blacklisting her in the background, all while she passed through her classes and doctorate with relative ease, and even wrote a book that is currently being used to teach the subject she studied.
The article is a quick and interesting read (tl;dr - you aren't being paranoid if they are actually out to get you), but what is more interesting is what was going on in my head as I read it.
"Oh boy. I know her type."
"And Aspergers, too? Geez. No wonder."
"We all know women like that!" hur hur hur
Ok, no, not really. I'm not THAT much of an asshole... but I did hear these thoughts circling around in my head as I read the article.
Yeah, sure, there are people that you don't want to work with or have speak at your conferences.
I can name a number of them that I work with right now, in fact.
And ya know what I realized? Every one of the names on that list is male.
So it's perfectly fine to be a skilled engineer and socially incompetent... if you are male.
But the woman in the article is a leading researcher in her field. Her book is used to teach the subject! And yet she gets bad-mouthed and ignored as a potential speaker for events on the topic.
The list of "difficult to work with" men who get leadership positions, big speaking retainers, and book deals, is almost infinite. But women? Not so much.
Sometimes my ingrained personal biases and privileges are lit up so bright they are blinding. I try to learn from them and be better from then on.
I hope you evaluate your own personal biases and do the self-reflection necessary to be better, as well.