Hi Jennifer, thanks for article.
I’ve been a woman in tech for over 2 decades, but I don’t really like to focus on being a “woman in tech”. Here’s why…
I knew I wanted to be a programmer back in the mid-80’s in jr. high. While I knew this was “different” than the path of most girls, I was proud to be an individual, and was usually complimented on my career choice.
Over the years of working at companies of various industries, shapes and sizes, I’ve encountered only a few men who were at first skeptical of my abilities as a female. I’ve always enjoyed proving these sexist types wrong by out performing their expectations. They’re even more impressed than if a guy does the same work. For this reason, I think women have a tremendous advantage in tech.
So, I focus on being good in tech, and not specifically a “woman” in tech.
About 5 years back I founded a startup in the CMS space, and became part of a high-tech incubator. There were ~10 companies in the incubator all owned by men which I didn’t really think twice about, since I was focused on growing my business.
To my surprise, I experienced a lot of sexism…
Not the negative type of sexism where the men thought less of my abilities, but the type of sexism that comes from people (both men & women) constantly focusing on the fact that I was a “woman”. It was strange to me that they thought I wanted their help with being a “woman in tech”.
Sometimes “women in tech” groups or reporters would come to the incubator, and of course every other person would flag me down with.. “oh, are you going to that seminar for women?”, or “they want to do a story on a woman owned startup”.
Really?? Actually, no I don’t want to go that seminar for women, because I’m kind of busy running my startup like every other entreprenueur__
I thought the point of the incubator was to get help with marketing my product, or obtaining capital, or increasing sales, but all I got help with was introductions to other women, and womens groups.
It’s great that woman like to empower each other. In terms of technology, I like to focus on being good at what I do, and not on being a “woman”. Maybe I’m unusual in this belief.
Stop Making an Issue of The Differences
When perception is equal, we will be equal. Sexism, like all the other “-ism’s”, is about making an issue of differences__ and that comes in both negative and positive forms. When people dwell on the glass ceiling, and focus on the issue of being a “woman”, the gender stereotypes persist.
I really do hope that other women become more interested in technology careers so that we can all focus less on gender, and more on being the very best at what we do! After all, there was a time when most programmers were women.
Nikki Durkin wrote a great article on this subject too: https://byrslf.co/why-im-sick-to-death-of-being-a-woman-in-tech-5a38e8b77e59