My Beef with the “Women in Tech” Movement

Here we go again. Another quote about women in tech.

Yes Shaherose, it IS exciting.

Let me tell you something. I never thought, “can I be in tech?”. I just did it.

I knew I liked computers. Ever since I was a kid and my brother and I were small enough to sit in the same chair to co-play Decent II, I knew I liked computers.

I went into college not knowing what to major in but I knew it was going to be something computer based.

That’s when I realized I agree with the above quote. In 2019, real women pursue whatever they want.

In 2019, real women pursue whatever they want.

What bothers me is when women feel like they have to shout it out to the world, “look at me I’m a WOMAN and I’m doing things!” When I see posts like that, I get rubbed the wrong way. I like seeing people do cool things in the tech community. I don’t think someone should get bonus points because they’re a woman doing it.

Case in point. In an article from Inc., Brenda Schmidt (founder and CEO of Solera Health which raised $42 million) “declined to identify [her business] as a woman-owned business – even though that would have helped her chances.” She said, “I wanted to compete on an even playing field”. The article goes on to say that Schmidt, “turns down speaking engagements “if they use phrases like ‘I found you by asking around who is a woman who is a leader in this field’.”

I totally agree. Getting the speaking gig or listed on a top 100 list just because you’re a woman is like getting a participation trophy. It doesn’t really mean anything.

No one ever told me not to sign up for a HTML class or not to pursue a MIS degree. No guy ever made fun of me in a CS class. No professor ever told me I didn’t belong. In fact, if you want to make it about women, all of my computer science, information systems, and capstone E-Commerce classes were taught by women professors.

For me, it was never a question of “can I do this?” It was a question of, “what exactly in tech do I want to do?”

For me, it was never a question of “can I do this?” It was a question of, “what exactly in tech do I want to do?” There are so many options, so many avenues! The choices are endless. Do I want to work in e-commerce or enterprise software? Do I want to be a developer or an analyst?

When I started at Doghead Simulations, I hardly knew what virtual reality was but from what I did understand, it was cool. I dove in, went to conferences and meetups. I went into VR apps and immersed myself in it.

We live in an amazing time where you can follow your passions and pursue your dreams. You can teach yourself how to code, take online classes, or get a degree. There is nothing holding us back but our own minds.

It’s not like the 1940’s where the only career a woman could have was a teacher since companies wouldn’t hire a woman on the basis of sex. It’s not like the 1950’s where women were trained, given power, rank, and skills beyond imagine only to be told after the war that a woman’s place was in the home.

It’s not like the 1970’s where my mom was told by her professor that she didn’t belong in the doctoral degree program she wanted because she was a woman. She showed him and got her PhD anyways.

We walk down the paved road set by those who struggled before us. Now, the only thing in our way are our own mindsets.

Do you find these quotes inspiring? Do you think women are making positive strides in tech? Let me know in the comments below.


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