This morning I was in a meeting with some students and a (male) colleague. The meeting was about a project we are all working on together. Throughout the entire meeting, one of the students (also male) spent almost the entire time addressing my colleague. The only time he made any sort of acknowledgement in my direction was when I asked him a direct question---and even then, he'd usually go back to directly addressing my colleague after a few seconds.
Now, I don't believe that this was malicious at all. In fact, the student's behavior could (theoretically) be justified, in the sense that my colleague was asking most of the questions. But it's still uncomfortable as hell for me, and I'd bet for the other students who were being ignored as well.
This phenomenon is something that I've unfortunately grown used to. I wish I could say incidents like this were uncommon, but that would be pretty far from the truth. The way I typically choose to deal with it is through more subtle means: when someone asks me a question in a group, I address my answer to the entire group; I shift my focus frequently, making sure to directly address everyone in the group at some point; etc. My hope is that others will catch the hint and realize that they are excluding others in the group, and modify their behavior accordingly. Unfortunately, this does not usually work. Yet, I am hesitant to be less subtle about drawing attention to it, because I don't want to make the offender (or anyone else in the group) feel uncomfortable and hyper-focus on the situation.
In this case, I'm not sure if bringing it up to my colleague (or to the student) is the way to go. I'm afraid my colleague will think I'm unnecessarily playing the Gender Card here, and I'm not sure what I'd say to the student that would have any sort of impact. But it's been irking me all afternoon.
Anyone have any suggestions? Could I have dealt with this better, and if so, how?