今日推荐英文原文：《The Mantle of “Girl Developer”》
今日推荐英文原文：《The Mantle of “Girl Developer”》作者：Sanchia Sukraj
The Mantle of “Girl Developer”
And why it should not existTo be a developer is all I wanted since my first “Hello world.” At the time, I was too young to understand the gender disparity in the workplace. I’ve always been a bit naive when it came to gender roles. I have a sister, not a brother, so I never experienced it growing up. I learned about it much later in life.
I saw it at school when I picked my courses. I picked sciences — computer science among them — and in a class of 43, I was one of seven girls. The accounting classes were where most of the girls could be found. I saw it again when I picked Computer Science as a major; in my final year, I was one of five (I think). Whereas the information systems courses had many more girls. When I joined the workforce, I was the only girl in my back end development team for about four years.
What frightens me is not the numbers. I know the numbers look like that everywhere. What frightens me is my attitude then, how I was treated, and how this treatment reinforced the wrong behaviour.
Being one of seven, then one of five and then just one, made me feel special. It made me feel better than the other girls. It made me feel stronger and smarter than the other girls. I felt like I could succeed in a “man’s world,” in an environment other women were not strong enough to thrive in, in a field women did not have a natural aptitude for.
Admitting that I had this horribly skewed view sickens me. I feel disgusted with myself.
I have been fortunate enough to belong to a team where I’ve never been mistreated because of my gender. I found a way to befriend all of the men I have had the pleasure of working with. I swear with them, I drink with them, I write code with them. I return their banter by always giving as good as I get. I am indifferent to the language or jokes. Someone wanting to go out for drinks to socialize after work is welcomed by me and met with excitement. Me being this way paints a negative picture. It says: if this girl can adapt and be comfortable with this culture, surely other girls can be as well.
What all this means for them, is a lower level of decorum is needed. What this meant for me is that when I sat in on interviews, I looked for the same strength to manage in this environment. When I looked at a girl moving from development to a non-development role, I saw it as a lack of strength to occupy this mantle.
My belief that I was special, that my personality was compatible with tech culture, and the ease with which I worked and socialized with my colleagues — it’s the perfect recipe for a self-perpetuating cycle of “girl developers” that actually disempowers other women in the tech industry.
Being a girl developer is a mantle that many women in tech hold up proudly. We wrinkle our noses at the women who struggle.
I came to grips with this last year. I’m ashamed of my previous thought patterns. I’m proud that I can wrap my head around these problems, while my career is still young.
This is a list of actions that I ‘ve been taking and truths that I have been accepting in an attempt to affect change in my team, and support the women who work around me:
- I dispelled the notion that I am special. I realised that this idea was alienating me from other women.
- I educate myself: I listen to audiobooks, I keep up with female developers in the industry via Twitter and I read their published works.
- I recognize that my belief that women do not have a natural aptitude for software development stems from the hubris of a young girl treading water in her first job. I am continually discovering the many massive contributions by women to the industry.
- I accept that gender roles play a huge part when picking careers. Just because I did not experience this growing up, does not mean it does not exist. In an attempt to remedy this, I speak at schools and colleges and I get involved in career days. I take every opportunity to explain why women developers are desperately needed in the tech industry.
- I stopped looking at the environment as something you need strength to be a part of, and rather something you may need support in if it is a struggle — something that needs to change if it’s toxic.
- I realised that while my personality may reinforce the negative expectation of women in tech, it’s who I am and not something I should change. Instead, I can use it to help bridge gaps and help make other women more comfortable.
- I realised that I cannot change the culture in a weekend.
- I talk more to other women at work.
- When there’s an invitation for drinks or any social event, I seek out other woman, who may be nervous about joining, and let them know that if they decide to join, I’ll be there — at the very least, they will have me to talk to. This is my attempt to soothe social anxiety!
- I make a concerted effort to coach women technically.
- I am not afraid to raise issues that may make others uncomfortable. I accept that it is not my job to make people feel comfortable.
- I remind myself and others, if need be, that men cannot be alienated. That you cannot shout problems at people and expect them to care just because you are shouting. If all other recourse fails, shouting may be the only way, but it isn’t the first step.
- If you want to affect change, men cannot be seen as the enemy and instead should be brought in as allies.
- If you want to affect change, you cannot categorise people as good or bad. Instead, keep in mind that not everyone has the same experiences. In other words, a man can’t have a woman’s point of view. This’s why we desperately need diversity. If people are deemed “bad” because they cannot relate to or understand someone else’s perspective, this is a disservice to them. Instead, honest conversation is what is needed.
- I appreciate that honest conversation is not something one can just whip out. There needs to be a company culture that fosters this. I am lucky enough to belong to a company that has that culture.
“Girl Developer” is not a mantle we should take up proudly. Being the only woman in a team does not necessarily mean you’re special, it could also mean you are alone. As a woman on a tech team you should not be alone and “Girl Developer” should not be a mantle at all.
Thanks for reading!