Skyler - I’m so happy you asked this question! I work in high tech and am often the only woman in the room. I also lead an employee resource group at my company that connects women so we don’t feel alone.
To answer your question, yes there is sexism in STEM. But also know, there is sexism in non-STEM too. So please, please, please stay in STEM. We need you more than ever and never, ever under estimate the value you bring to the table.
Having diversity in STEM is a business imperative - look at this McKinsey study of women in STEM (https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/closing-the-tech-gender-gap-through-philanthropy-and-corporate-social-responsibility) Evidence based research has shown a public company’s stock price goes up with females leading. YOU ARE THE GAME CHANGER!
So what do you do when you get there:
First, find your Wolfpack or Girl Gang. These are the people who support you no matter what. They also give you straight talk to keep you focused. They give honest feedback and you do the same to make each other better. Look for them. You will recognize each other.
Second, find your male supporters. These are the guys that sit in meetings and will say “what do you think Skylar?” They’ll support you by repeating your idea/point AND give you credit for it. He'll sound something like this... "I like what Skylar said about...(insert your idea here)". They’ll often clear the floor and hand you the mic.
Third, find your female mentor or sponsor. This gal is at a higher level than you. She’s seasoned and has journeyed through the jungle with a machete. Don't just ask "will you be my mentor". Set up meetings with her, have lunch with her, ask her for advice. Ask her to connect you with others, but also give something back. Share what your working on. Then help her make connections if you can. Get crazy and teach one of your hobbies if she's interested.
Last, Be. Fearless. Speak up in meetings, speak up when you have an idea, concern, question. 9x's out of 10 others are wondering the same thing. People will notice your fearlessness.
Skylar, those of us in STEM are waiting for you. We have shoulders fo you to stand on. Join us.
Be bold and carry on.