Women in Technology My Experience
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I suppose I should start by saying that I’ve been in this industry for almost 4 years now, initially self-employed and then working for different companies, (Ansca Mobile followed by Lanica,) and in that time I have had around 20 male colleagues, compared with three female colleagues, and worked one-on-one with over 1,000 developers - less than 1% of whom were female.
Of course, some people see that in and of itself as an indication of a sexist industry; I am inclined to disagree. I believe that, for whatever reason, there are just far less women than men who are passionate enough about mobile technology to pursue it as a career - and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I’ve seen plenty of sexism in my life; I saw it at school, I saw it in the pub, I saw it on the bus, I even saw it at home - one place it has never been a problem is at work.
That isn’t to say I haven’t had any encounters with pigs; I have. You work with over 1,000 people individually and eventually you’re going to encounter a few bad apples - but I feel that I’ve been around long enough and encountered enough people to say that I don’t view sexism in tech as any more of an issue than it is in any other industry.
In four years I’ve had only a handful of incidents; the odd inappropriate email, the assumption I must be non-technical and the sheer number of people who assumed I was a man even with the name “Peach” until they actually spoke to me or saw a picture tend to stand out in my mind.
Maybe I have been lucky in that almost all of the men I’ve worked with have been gentlemen, although I prefer to think that with such a large group and so few issues that the problem isn’t that there’s a large number of sexists out there but rather that, sadly, those who do exist behave in such a way they overshadow what I believe to be the vast, vast majority - the good guys.
Of course, when this kind of discussion comes up I always feel the need to reflect on the other side; what about women? Some of the most sexist remarks I’ve heard as an adult have come from other women; both about males and females.
At the end of the day, some people are just ignorant, and I’m happy that my experiences the last few years in this industry have only reaffirmed my faith in the fact that the overwhelming majority of men (and women) in tech are awesome.
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