Every woman can relate to this.
You are at a party and tell someone what you do. The person you are talking to, (usually a man) responds by explaining your job to you, downplaying your credentials and perhaps informing you of things you might not be aware of in the area you have spent years researching.
Rebecca Solnit first described the phenomenon in her 2008 essay, "Men Explain Things to Me".
"Mr. Very Important was going on smugly about this book I should have known when Sallie interrupted him to say, 'That’s her book'. Or tried to interrupt him anyway," she wrote.
She felt that, "young women needed to know that being belittled wasn’t the result of their own secret failings; it was the boring old gender wars."
Rarely does the "boring old gender wars" get the delicious public shutdown it deserves, until this week.
In European parliament this week, Brexit Party politician Richard Rowland questioned Greens party finance spokeswoman Molly Scott-Cato on her authority in raising questions on the economic risks of post-Brexit trade strategy and warning of the costs of climate change.
Mr Rowland charged in guns blazing: “I’d just like to ask Ms Scott Cato what empirical proof she has that the end of the transition period, when we will be leaving the European Union, hopefully on a ‘Canada plus’-style trade deal, will result in a cliff-edge – when as far as I’m aware she does not have any degree in economics."
"As far as I’m aware she does not have any degree in Economics." - Mr Rowland
“Maybe she has some business experience that would give some empirical proof that that would be the case?”
Ms Cato-Scott then delivered her comeback:
“Obviously you haven’t been paying much attention to my CV because I was and I remain a professor of economics.”
"I was and I remain a professor of economics.” - Ms Cato-Scott
“I also have expertise in trade policy and have been studying the trade negotiations from the beginning. I rely on the expertise of other trade experts, all of whom have said it takes much longer than the time available to negotiate a treaty.
“The likelihood is, if we go ahead with Boris Johnson’s deal, we will end up in exactly the same crisis, facing a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020.”
Her calm response provoked applause and even a smile from the suitably chastened Mr Rowland.
“I think Mr Rowland stands corrected,” said the chair, Mairead McGuinness.