An Appreciation Post
For all the women and men who have helped me on my journey so far.
I thought I'd do something a little different this week as my heart is so full, it would be silly not to. I also thought I'd reflect a little bit on my experiences and what I've learnt since embarking on my digital journey.
Firstly, I'd like to say a massive thank you to the wonderful women who have already completed my interview series. Big up Nesa, Sarah, Ceri-Anne, Jasmine, Jenny and Penny and to Ivana, Catherine and Pauline who's posts are ready and waiting to be published. I also want to thank the women who have scheduled in time to answer my questions in the future, I'm honestly so excited to learn about your experiences. I appreciate you so much, thank you for giving up your time to help me, and hopefully others, understand what it takes to be successful in the industry.
Obviously this blog is dedicated to all the women, however my journey would not be possible without the help of inspiring men too. As this whole thing is about creating equality (or as I like to call it normality, thanks DWP/ Claudia you're incredible) I have to highlight the contribution of all the men I've had to pleasure of encountering. Thank you to my cousin Joel, my friends brother Bertie, Lawrie, Angus, Gary and of course my dear paps. You've all put me in touch with incredibly inspirational women to interview and your advice and support has been unparalleled.
An extra special thanks goes to Tejay, who opened her doors to me, and to everyone at Tribal who offered me advice. Shadowing you was really amazing, you're so kind and thoughtful Tejay and I am so excited about working with you in the future. One day I hope to be as bad ass as you. Thank you to Natasha for providing us the opportunity to meet, you're an inspo to us ALL and I can't wait to catch you at the next Ladies of Code.
Thank you to all the organisers of the events & Meetups that I have attended, they have really been the backbone to my journey and have offered me the opportunity to grow my support and professional network. They have not only inspired me to start this website, but have also provided an empowering space to practice things I usually feel uncomfortable doing (Hey Ivana thanks for making us all get up and speak). I'll create another post/section of the website dedicated to events and meetups I attend(ed) as there are so many of them :D
No one I've mentioned thus far has had to take the time to speak, advise, or support me (apart from my dad hahaha). Most of you I've only known for a brief period of time, yet you've all been so kind, empowering and MOTIVATING. And I think that's been the best thing about deciding to get into tech, the community is awesome.
Some things I've noticed
Contrary to what I believed when I started this website, many of the women on here haven't had negative experiences associated with their gender. Which is obviously AMAZING. However, what I have noticed through my own experience, studies (hey psychology 101) and through the conversations I've had with you all, is that the challenges women and other minorities face aren't always explicitly obvious, and aren't always individual attacks or what have you. A lot of the challenges women face are subliminal or considered 'banter' and are in-built in the very structure of our society. For things to really change, I believe there needs to be:
More & more examples, adverts, tv shows, movies, teachers, courses, books etcetera etcetera, that show women in technology and digital, so much so, it becomes normal to be a woman in tech instead of being "Women In Tech".
For this movement to cause real structural change, for it not to be a fad
This is a grass-routes movement and while it is incredibly important that big businesses 'hop on the bandwagon' of supporting women in tech, this movement needs to be organic and genuine. We don't want this to be their corporate responsibility box tick, we want and need them to make a conscious effort to 'normalise' the gender inequality.
More safe, comfortable and empowering events and spaces
That encourage, teach and enable women to practice the skills that men are traditionally considered better at (e.g. public speaking). That don't tell women they've got to be 'cocky' and 'brash' to be successful (n.b. there is a difference between confidence and cockiness).
We're not flustered, we're angry :) joking about inequalities perpetuates those inequalities. As does victim blaming. THE USER IS NOT AN IDIOT. Don't be mad that your system or site hasn't been tested as throughly as it needs to be.
Parents/grandparents/aunts & uncles/god parents/teachers...
Who don't perpetuate gender stereotypes by only giving their girls dolls and toy kitchens and only give their boys Legos and trucks. Who remind their boys and girls that gender is not a precursor to skill or industry.
I hope I haven't forgotten anyone, and if I have it's because I have dissertation brain, not because you haven't impacted me. BRING ON GRADUATION. You're all amazing. Thank you.