I’m starting by writing this

I don’t normally weigh in on the subjects of “women in [fill in the blank]”. Women in tech, women in STEM, women in business, women in politics, ratios of women speaking at conferences. They are all complex issues, and I don’t have anything close to a solution.

I have also never personally been discriminated against or harassed because of my gender. I know, I am lucky. I don’t even really work in tech, but I work in a male-dominated industry, and I have known women who have been harassed in my industry. I’m also lucky because all of my managers have not just been women, but have been bold women who have refused to back down to the various obstacles in their paths. I’m fortunate that such women have paved the way for me. I’m fortunate that I haven’t had to fight the battles they have, or deal with the harassment they have. I know this is rare, and just how blessed I am.

But after the week we have just had, I am truly shocked to see how little progress has been made for women.  Is this really where society is?

If you haven’t been paying attention, it started with Kathy Sierra writing about the 10 years of threats and harassment she has endured, simply for being a woman in tech. Ten. Fucking. Years. The line that got me was this:

Life for women in tech, today, is often better the less visible they are.

How is that even acceptable in 2014? We wear computers around our wrists and cars can drive themselves, and women are still suffering like this?

Photoshopped image of Microsoft CEO and Clippy
I photoshopped this, because what the fuck.

And then Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft — one of the biggest tech companies in the world, that employs thousands of women — got up at the Grace Hopper Celebration — the largest conference in the world celebrating women in technology — of all fucking places, and says that women shouldn’t ask for raises.

I can’t even…

This is exactly why Kathy Sierra, and thousands of other women, are still enduring the shit they are each and every day.

I am not one of the women who has been fighting and advocating and devoting their lives to these issues, but even I am exhausted by all of this. I don’t know what I can do that will even make a difference. I don’t know how I can help move the needle on this.

Maybe I can’t. Not me, as an individual, but perhaps by adding my voice to others’. Perhaps by saying that I do not accept this treatment as reasonable, and I will not stand for it for myself nor anyone that I know. Perhaps by encouraging woman and girls to keep fighting, working, dreaming, coding and creating, I can help.

I’m starting by writing this.




1 thought on “I’m starting by writing this

  1. Michelle Robbins

    Thank you for starting here Dawn 🙂 Every voice and every single person that becomes just that much more aware of both the subtle, and all the not so subtle, things that women in business have to deal with (in every business really, this is not just a women in tech problem), the more we really can move the needle. I hope we’re getting to the point where everyone, not just women, are sick of seeing and hearing about these kinds of things – and will actually begin to speak up, advocate or push back when they happen.

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