I’ve been wanting to write about my experience as one of those “elusive” female software engineers, but I haven’t actually had that many experiences with discrimination as a female software engineer than I have trying to become a designer-slash-developer. I think part of it is the culture of the company I work for (IBM), and the fact that there isn’t necessarily a lack of women in the company in all sorts of roles. I never feel hyper-aware if I’m the only woman in a meeting, because people I work with don’t really care what gender I am, as long as I can get the job done. Maybe it’s because I work from home and am usually the disembodied voice on speakerphone…but I really think it’s just because IBM is such a large, old company that we’ve been through the women in technology “crisis” since the late 19th century and have pretty much moved forward since then.

That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading up on the various experiences that other women go through. It’s hard for me to empathize with some though, especially the ones that refer to breaking the stereotype of a hot woman in heels not being able to write code.



I finally read an article today on Medium.com that sort of addressed some of the concerns I had, but I was expecting it to be titled “I need ugly female software engineers”. 😛 Seriously though, it’s true as the writer says, women are somewhat held to a higher esteem than men. It’s not enough that a woman is just good at what she does, she also has to be good-looking, amiable, and if applicable, an awesome mother. It’s ok if a really smart and successful male software engineer has no social skills, is a poor dresser, and berates people in public forums…they are just seen as “quirky” but “genius”. There is this belief that girls don’t end up in computer science because it’s just not “glamorous” enough, and that we need to show girls that even those that wear makeup and 4-inch heels and mini skirts can be fierce as a programmer. Maybe women out there who are in tech should just keeping doing what they’re doing and be more outward about it, blog more, talk more about it like men more often do, and then it will become a goal of young girls to “be in computer science” rather than to “be a female in computer science.”