It all started with this post on Techcrunch Too Few Women In Tech? Stop Blaming The Men. and got more out of hand with all the responses. When I saw this post from Felicia Day Women in Tech, I thought I would carry my comment over here and see if there is further discussion.
I’ve been struggling with the issue for decades on the lack of women in technology. Even after having risen up to be a Chief Technology Architect of a major Media/Publishing company I am still being surrounded by mostly men.
I was always interested as a kid in “girly” things, (i.e. knitting, fashion) etc. but I loved solving puzzles and enjoyed math. I wasn’t a geek in school so I don’t think that its really the pink/blue thing so much as parents who wanted me to do what I enjoyed. I was only one of a few in my high school that went away to college.
From the very beginning of my technology life in college, I was 1 of 3 women in a class of 25 graduating with a CS degree. I can blame it on the era, since computers were not easily accessible, (i.e. my first computer was a Commodore 64!) but I have a feeling that ratio hasn’t changed too much.
After school, I continually got pigeon holed into typically female oriented technology roles, (QA, project management) and I had to leave many companies to get recognized for my ability as a programmer/architect. When I finally built up a reputation as a technology architect, I found that even in a room of architects, I was always one of a few women. This was true regardless of the industry or company I was in.
Now that I’m even more senior, I run architecture reviews and enterprise technology designs with all male crowds. I hope that these men who recognize me as a technology leader can tell their daughters that they can do anything they want too and that perhaps I’ve influenced these men and how they treat their daughters.
I’m still constantly struggling now that I’ve been hosting Let’s Knit2gether, (a knitting show) because it seems like people can’t see an individual who is in technology having interest in things that are stereotypically women’s things.
We need to break down all gender stereotypes for children, no matter the age. So it’s OK for a boy to wear pink and knit, and it’s OK for a girl to wear blue and play video games.
Oh and BTW, the first computer programmers were women. Look it up!