Women In Tech Humans In Life
I have, for the most part, remained silent on the topic of Women In Tech. Partly because I’ve not personally experienced any type of discrimination based solely on my gender. If I did, not only am I unaware that it happened, but I most likely squished it immediately after it presented its ugly self. Have you seen me? I do kind of look intimidating. ;]
So why am I writing this? Here’s a hint: it’s not just an issue for women, and it’s not just an issue for tech. It goes way past that.
Leave The Judgements Outside
Throughout my career – and more importantly, my life – I’ve had to deal with a lot of shit. But so have most of us (and it’s impossible to compare). The difference is, not everyone is fortunate enough to clear the muck from their boots and walk away. I was. And I will always be grateful for the support system around me; a support system that still exists today.
But not everyone shares the same experience. There are many people who feel like they’re facing an uphill battle. Sadly, many of them have the “added bonus” of having to deal with some perceived disability (see the next paragraph for an explanation). Whether it’s an issue at work or one in life, sometimes it can feel like the whole world is out to get you.
Perceived disability? What do you mean?
I mean, there are people in this world who will judge another person for a number of different reasons; they will then go on to assume the individual of their judgement is somehow disabled, less important, not as smart… or simply not worth it.
By the way, all of their assumptions are wrong!
My advice is to cast the judgements of others aside and align with the rest of us who see past their ignorance. We are the majority, I promise. Turn your attention away from them and toward us. Ignore (yes, ignore!) those who are trying to drag you down. Stop letting them take your power away.
Look! I know it’s not easy. Trust me, I get that. I understand how difficult it is to see the sunrise from the bottom of a dark hole; a dark hole you’ve been told is where you belong. And it’s especially difficult when you feel like you’re in that hole, all alone.
Finding Strength In Others
The truth is… you’re not alone. There is an “army” of individuals working on your behalf. People like Sarah Olsen (@saraheolson) and Ash Furrow (@ashfurrow), two individuals who recently spoke at RWDevCon about community and inclusion. While I wasn’t able to see their talks (I was working the conference as a room host), I did see how their talks sparked conversations about this and other topics.
But understand that these two individuals are not alone. There are countless others who are the voice for those who haven’t yet found the strength in their own voices. And not just the voices in tech. As I said earlier, it’s much more than that.
I invite you to watch this TED TALK by Author Lidia Yuknavitch to understand what I mean.
If I could, I’d go back and I’d coach myself. I’d be exactly like those over-50-year-old women who helped me. I’d teach myself how to want things, how to stand up, how to ask for them. I’d say, “You! Yeah, you! You belong in the room, too.” The radiance falls on all of us, and we are nothing without each other. ~ Lidia Yuknavitch
My Final Message To You
This post isn’t about women in tech; it isn’t about gender; it isn’t about the color of your skin; it isn’t even about your sexual orientation, political connection, or religious beliefs.
It’s about YOU. It’s about not allowing others to define who you are – and what you’re capable of doing – by these simple labels alone. You are so much more than just a label.
If I die tomorrow… here is the message I want to leave with you:
Never let anyone – regardless of THEIR reasons or opinions – tell YOU what you can and can’t do. Never let anyone control your destiny. You have a story, and you have the right to tell it with any voice of your choosing.
Please have faith in yourself. Go after what you want, because the Universe is filled with endless possibilities, and you are a powerful creator.