March 10, 2016
So how does it feel to be a woman in tech?
I get asked this question a lot by journalists and by other well wishers whose intentions are nothing but to support women thrive in and give women the space to talk about the issues they are facing in a traditionally male-dominated field.
For all the men out there supporting women to be represented in this field, we thank you. But make no mistake; women are intuitive and can tell when a man is just asking the question because it’s the “in thing” or it’s an easy way to strike a conversation or when you are a man in tech and you feel like “your” space is invaded by aliens — in this case, women.
It’s amazing how we want to promote women to venture into the tech world yet we are quick to label persons in the tech field as “women in tech” or “men in tech;” the former is usually a shorthand, an innuendo for incompetence or incapacity.
Historically, women make the majority of nurses but we don’t hear people ask men how it feels like to be a male nurse. When this question of male nurses comes up, it’s not to depict lack of skill or incompetence on the part of the male nurse, but to show that nursing is beneath men and men should have better things to do with their lives than do “jobs for women.”
For women techies, however, the question is usually a polite way of saying: “I don’t trust you can do this, but let me just support you so I don’t look like a jerk. I don’t want to be the talk of the day, the sexist-male-chauvinist-who is not wise enough to be part of the movement.” This category have no choice but go with the flow. I call these ones the sheep.
For others, the message is loud, clear and uncontroversial. They acknowledge they have daughters, sisters, mothers and wives whose capabilities should not be defined by their gender. These are the nobles.
Then we have the straight up haters. This lot have bigger problems to deal with than just hating on women techies. Don’t get me started on them.
Before you ask a woman “The” question for whatever reason, know that she’s bold enough to venture into something you are questioning because it doesn’t seem feasible in your world.
Know that she has discovered herself and is comfortable doing what she does and she doesn’t apologize for it.
But most of all, know that that “feeling” you are talking about, only exists in your head. Women are busy making the world a better place while you are busy questioning what they can or cannot do.
In a new digital, global village of infinite possibilities, there’s no man in tech or woman in tech. Just techies.
Change is gradual, but it is hypocritical to pretend to be pro-change when deep down you passive-aggressively resist it..
(Wo)man up. Pick a side. The noble, the sheep, or the straight up hater. Don’t disguise your real feeling in a “how-does-it-feel-to-be-a-woman-in-tech” type question.
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Originally published on Medium