Imagine a scenario where a group of women are gathered in a meeting planning a spring event to promote and inspire women in technology. They are tossing around the idea of how they are going to get a website online to promote their event. First they are discussing where it will be hosted and so forth. Then it comes down to who is going to build the site for them. “Does anyone know anyone with web development experience?” “Well… I do have some.” But no one in the room listens to the second girl. They just keep talking about who they might know. Their list? All guys. Are there any good computer science guys that might be able to figure it out? Oh, he might not know how but I’m sure he’ll figure it out… On and on like that.
Well, this is a true story. It happened to me this week. A group of women in the process of planning how to help out women in technology and they don’t even think of the women in the room let alone at all first before going through their list of technical guys. Now, I do admit, for others reasons, I didn’t really want to get landed with building a website for these people. Mostly to do with time constraints and other obligations, but… I would have liked the opportunity to turn them down. However, I didn’t push after my initial admission of web knowledge to have everyone know I love building websites.
Fighting for change, especially in the face of adversity, is always going to be an uphill battle. I accept that. I mean, look at Facebook’s new timeline and how much people are resisting that. How can I expect people’s opinion of women in technology to change overnight? I don’t.
Sitting in a room full of technical women who purport to be fighting for change and still having to fight to be accepted as technically savvy is some other kind of beast. We will never have change if the people we are fighting for don’t even believe they deserve the change.
The steps I am taking to fight for the change I want: a) I never make assumptions about someone else’s knowledge or lack of knowledge. I try to clarify what they are comfortable doing and what they want to do and what they would love to get more experience in. b) I am making an effort to educate people. When someone makes an assumption, I am training myself to correct them when they are wrong. c) I am doing my utmost to be the best technical woman I can be- I want to be a role model for other women and I want to feel good about my accomplishments. I don’t want to settle for mediocre or put some effort in. I want to excel at what I choose to do. I am pursuing something I am truly passionate about, I just have to find the confidence to let it shine through.