A FEW months back, a male Twitter user jokingly posited an idea for a new reality show, where people who know nothing about a given subject or skill would explain it to you. Perhaps to his surprise, the punchline came in the form of the replies. “That already exists. It’s called being a woman.”

So common is this experience that a word has been created to describe it: “mansplaining.” Some men object to the term, branding it as “sexist”, but the reality is that women are still routinely treated as though they have less knowledge and know-how than their male counterparts. And nowhere is this more obvious than in male-dominated professions, where women have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously.

So, it was no particular surprise when, speaking at the finance and constitution committee today, Tory MSP Alexander Burnett posed an almost comically condescending question to Scottish Government finance secretary Kate Fobes. “Whilst I totally appreciate your lack of business experience, do you understand why the low percentage error is neither insignificant nor insubstantial?” he asked, before offering to put a gold star on her reward chart if she answered correctly.

Forbes duly thanked him for “enlightening” her, in a manner which made her point abundantly clear. This response, however, might be what some would consider “shouty” - an adjective used to describe the finance minister by a columnist for The Times not six weeks ago, who painted an alarming picture of Forbes as reminiscent of “the scary young girl in the cult film The Ring”.

WATCH: Kate Forbes is having absolutely none of this Tory's 'mansplaining'

Of course, none of this is really about Kate Forbes, the person or the politician. It’s just that there are still an awful lot of men who can’t see a woman in a position of power without resorting to remarks that are steeped in sexism and a compulsive need to patronise. Add to this the fact that Forbes is only 30 and we should probably just count ourselves lucky that Burnett didn’t start singing “you need someone older and wiser, telling you what to do”.

Whether it’s about being too emotional, too soft, or too “frosty” - as LibDem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton recently described the First Minister - women in politics are consistently scrutinised based on standards that simply don’t apply to men. One can only hope that everyone involved in political commentary will take stock of Girlguiding Scotland’s new youth-led Media Mindful campaign to challenge sexism and negative gender stereotypes in the media.

As only the first woman to hold her position or to deliver a budget in either the Scottish Parliament or Westminster, Forbes’ place in history only proves what a difficult legacy women in politics have to overcome. And when only 36% of MSPs and 34% of MPs are women, it’s clear there is a long road ahead to ensure women’s equal inclusion decision-making. As long as women who do enter politics are treated as inferior, inadequate, or an easy target for gendered dog-whistles, the barriers to addressing this democratic deficit will only be reinforced.