It’s not easy being a woman in technology. It’s not easy supporting women in technology. It’s not easy watching the culture of abuse and misogyny that repels women from technical careers, like software development, hardware engineering, and IT administration. It’s not easy changing the culture.
If you are a woman in the technology profession, you know what I mean. If you aren’t, this may seem to be a non-issue: “All women need to do is try harder,” perhaps, or “Women need to relax and get over themselves.” Nope. If you’re a guy, talk to women techies and you’ll swiftly learn that their career path looks very different. And different is not better.
The more women we have in technology, the better for everyone: for the workforce, for the company’s bottom line, and for the customers. Everyone wins.
I have recently started working with an organization called WITI—Women in Technology International—that provides resources both for women in technical professions and for companies that see the incredible value in building and supporting a diversified workforce and management team. I encourage you to see what WITI, and related groups like the Anita Borg Institute, Million Women Mentors and Girls in Tech, have to offer.
Not sure about the problem? Not sure about the solution? Here are some stories about women in technology that you should read. Some about the professional challenges, and others about the incredible abuse that women receive all the time on the Internet, at some conferences, on Twitter, and even in open-source project forums. I’m not talking about challenges based on their ideas, their skills or their expertise, but rather hostility based purely on their gender. As a guy, I find these stories unbelievable and incredibly depressing. Let’s do something about it!
Pacific Standard: “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet,” by Amanda Hess
Network Computing: “Women in IT: Suffer Silently?” by Michele Chubirka
Los Angeles Times: “Sexism a problem in Silicon Valley, critics say,” by Jessica Guynn