Product designer Anne Katherine Halsall provides an interesting perspective on what it’s like being a woman entrepreneur in the technology sector at different career stages. She says when she was younger and worked at Google, she was flattered to receive compliments on being a good woman programmer. As she started doing more serious coding (” learning how to learn to program”) she realised her previous attitude was a problem.
No engineer who takes her job seriously wants to be treated like a unicorn. It is simply too hard of a job to be handled with kid gloves. It was when I started to push at the boundaries of my role that I saw the social consequences emerge. At conferences, people assume I’m a nontechnical designer. At parties, they assume I’m someone’s girlfriend. If I am well-known on the Internet, people say it’s because I’m female and therefore have some magic thrall over nerdy men.
People always treat you better when you don’t challenge their assumptions, and people assume women are nontechnical. Therefore the experience of being a “technical”* woman in tech ended up being very different from that of being a nontechnical” woman.
*Halsall notes this is a loaded word but she uses it to denote the difference between professional coding for business product design and her previous coding efforts.
Source: Quora http://goo.gl/XBJaFZ
Photo: Ed Yourdon via Flickr.