The importance of feminism in tech industries

I am the type of woman who lifts other women.
I am the type of woman who lifts other women. I am the type of woman who lifts other women. I am the type of woman who lifts other women. I am the type of woman who lifts other women. I am the type of woman who lifts other women. Iamthetypeofwomanwholiftsotherwomen.

Tech related industries are still a world ruled by men, as global statistics dictate… the female workforce is definitely lower than male. In my experience women usually represent approximately 30% of the whole company & are mainly distributed on Marketing, Design or HR teams.

If you’re a girl in your 20’s-30’s, like me 🙋🏻, & happen to work on a tech oriented company you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you’re a bro & think this is not for you, think again, women are not unrelated to your existence. The more and more we talk about feminism (and take it seriously) the faster we can address the issue and improve. Feminism needs to happen now & we all need to be part of it.

We’re such a small community, the ideal is we’re allies, but even our own army is being discouraged from within, why on earth are we wasting time trashing each other? We’re all on the same side, equity side. We all aim for better lives... stepping over others to reach one is not an option.

Around 1975 Joreen Freeman wrote "Trashing: The Dark Side of Sisterhood" which is still a big an issue now as it was back then.

"Trashing only works well when its victims are alone, because the essence of trashing is to isolate a person and attribute a group's problems to her"

My intention is not to condemn people, but actions and social behaviours, to call out our sisterhood self-destructiveness, attempt to bring clarity to my own -often misguided- anger, bring a somewhat sense of clarity over what we need, and point out where we are still failing as an egalitarian society.

As Jessica Bennet describes it in her book “The Feminist Fight Club” :

“Healthy environments where women can thrive is a very hard thing to find, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We observe a woman undermining another and conclude that “women do that.” Why are women not more supportive of other women? & even jealous of other women success?”

The problem with today’s micro-aggressions is that they’re so subtle that can go under the radar. They are not necessarily intentional nor conscious; the patterns our society has built make scenarios like these acceptable behavior, but that doesn’t mean it has to be or stay that way.

Why is it so hard to find spaces where women support one another? Is this really the case? For my short working experience I’ve seen both, women who create strong solidarity bonds, and women who will try to undermine another colleague success.

So, with all this being said…Why are we so threatened by other women? Why is talking about gender such a big deal? What daily interactions have I encountered that make me uncomfortable? and most importantly: How can I make this better? / How can I be part of the change ?

5 Misconceptions I’ve encountered so far (that make me angry as duck):

1. Women are super complicated

(complicated being used as a negative adjective)

Scenario: This happened a couple weeks ago, while criticizing a tool our team uses daily, and referring to it as complex, very hard to understand… A female member of the team made the “funny” comparison to women being as “complex as the tool”. Thanks for the kind words, lady.🙄

So despite the fact that this was said by a woman (which is what annoys me the most), these type of negative adjectives perpetuate gender stereotypes and prejudices, so instead of helping the cause it pretty much undermine women as irrational human beings.

Am I being too extreme? Well, not really… Interiorized ideas, like these, can affect our daily interactions. Sexism is a dangerous double end knife, and as it can be funny & non intentional it can also help maintain the idea of women as external beings whose reasons and motives are unknown to mankind. 🙄

Fact is: Not all women are complicated & not all men are simple guys.
Truth is…does it really matter?

2. Women are hard to work with!

Scenario: a couple of months ago a female colleague & I were asked by our team lead about adding another girl to the team. She then replied “NO, girls are so hard to work with” and I, being the lazy ass sheep I can be sometimes, nodded in silence. I didn’t agree at the time and I do regret nodding.

In my personal experience every time I work with a woman I feel cared for and listened. Working with women is THE. BEST. THING. EVR. The level of empathy is amazing, as it becomes conscious & don’t misunderstand me am not saying that working with guys isn’t great either…

Fact is: Gender is not related to how great you can work with somebody else. Let’s create stronger bonds, we’re much stronger together! As the saying goes… definitely “ two heads are better than one” .

3. That time of the month.

Scenario: Let’s get this clear: being told your decisions & actions are based on your hormones, than on you level or capability of taking decisions is disrespectful af & it makes me angry.

Soooooooo circunstancial. Yes, we are cyclical human beings, without a doubt there’s a chemical process undergoing, yet I know a fair amount of women who will not see this as an impediment & will perform as required. This should not to be held against you but should not justify your crappy/hateful/horrifying/rude attitude.

Some women may have a harder time than others, so if this is your case be prepared for taking more tea, having some meds on your drawer, (hot pads are my personal favorite hack), or even taking a day off if its too unbearable. But take the time to know yourself; know how you body works, so you can be aware. If you know you may be a little bit more intolerable prepare some tactics… thing is no one can get away with being mean, on any day of the month.

Fact is: Periods are normal, periods are natural they should be treated as what they are. After all periods don’t control women. It’s a natural process, not a big deal.

4. The Manterrupter-Mansplainer

Scenario: Don’t ask me a question then start talking over my response. While answering a doubt an angry customer was asking he started speaking really loudly. Let’s just say I went full Maxine Waters on him.

Having people speak over your ideas in conversations and meetings is one of the most common micro-aggressions women have to endure with. It belittles and undermines creative ideas to the point to discarding the whole being. Lack of emotional safety at work is uncomfortable & can be avoided.

As Rebecca Solnit addresses it on her essay “Men explain things to me” :

“It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.”

It seems like a very small problem, but it means so much and can become a bigger issue. Please learn to listen. Everybody has something to offer, an idea, a suggestion, even questions or doubts that need to be heard/answered & if there is someone expressing his/her point of view, wait for your turn. If this happens too often, where you feel you’re not being listened or a fella interrupts your ideas…do not doubt for a sec “thanks for your input Mr. Know it all, I’m sure your idea is very interesting but I wasn’t done with mine”.

Fact is: Overcoming this type of obstacles is hard and requires resilience, assertiveness and timing. Be confident of your ideas, if you’re wrong there’s always room for improvement, do not take another person excessive self-assurance as an invitation for silence.

5. Resting Bitch Face they call you.

Scenario: While talking with a client I was told how sweet I look, to what a fella colleague responded “Don’t be fooled, she’s really feisty*”.

At meetings, I often find myself having to repeat my ideas or to over explain them:
1 no one was paying attention
2 more often than not I’m the only girl on a room full of men.

And make emphasis to girl, and men… subconsciously this plays an inner game regarding my place as a woman inside a group, so yes I have to be feisty to be listened to and I make no apology for it.

At a very young age girls are taught not to be considered as threatening, aggressive, bossy, feisty*... Most of which are said by “well-intentioned” [people] who are unaware of the hidden messages being communicated. What does being feminine even means? Social gender constructions segregate women to passive personalities and submissive roles, where asking a woman to smile is considered a possibility, where women become outsiders when outnumbered.

Probably a man in a position of power wouldn’t have to give so many explanations to his action… probably a man who takes initiative or tries to do his job better would not be considered feisty (cuz probably they don’t look like angry tiny girls when proving a point)… they most likely would be identified as empowered, or strong willed… or some stupid positive adjective.

Why do I happen to constantly walk into scenarios where I have to prove that I know my sh*t twice as hard as my male colleagues do? Why does my size and my gender speak for me when I’m not in the room and make me have to prove my personality over my looks? Why do I have to fight for respect? Why is this even a conversation? As Elle Woods proves it, I can wear pink and rock it.

Fact is: Let’s change the mindset, let’s address empowerment as a favorable outcome disregarding gender or looks. Language is amazing, so if you can choose to complement over undermine go for positive reinforcement, do not by any means forget

*(yes thank you, I use it as a banner, I like it, im not only feisty, I’m bossy, demanding and I know my sh*t.)

The tables are turning

Yes I’m lucky, in a boy’s world I found two amazing, supportive leaders & an amazing team who happens to listen, be supportive and is almost gender balanced (yay!!!). I’m grateful, yet I’m aware there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, from empowering little girls at school to creating stronger bonds between female colleagues…

I was asked earlier this week who I want to become, I did not know until now … I want to be the type of woman who lifts other women.

Talking to my sister about how mantras affect our inner consciousness, I came up with this premise “I want to become …” she then explained to me the importance of present. Present is about right now, about making it real, consolidating power in this precise moment.

Dear woman of the world…The trail I leave behind is for you to follow, the path I carve is for you to walk through, the doors I open I open them for you.

If you’re reading this make sure I will I believe this is, I’ll breath this as my daily mantra until finally… I become this.

Let’s fight patriarchy, not each other. Do not underestimate the power of awareness & will.

To the women that came before me, and the women who’ll come after me.

Now the funniest sh*t evr 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻

If you liked my article leave your comments below!! If you feel different or want to share a story I want to read it!

Product Designer @Cerby. Professional napper. Feminist. Also into woodworking.