As someone who has been part of various WiT (Women in Tech) events, I’m absolutely delighted by the surge of effort to promote women in this field, and the progress so far has been phenomenal. Though being a software engineer, I’m cursed with always feeling like there’s room for improvement, and that’s the case even here with the WiT movement.
There’s a trend I’ve noticed which I think we really ought to take a look at and see if we can better it. Specifically, I’m talking about the lack of lady engineers on panels, giving talks, and featured in articles. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s terrific that we’re seeing women CEOs, marketers, and other non-techies getting the word out, but I wonder if getting women programmers, UX peeps, CTOs and other technical staff out front and center would be even greater. Let’s make the geekette the poster child of the revolution!
So here’s my ask to all the conference organizers, meet-up hosts, journalists, and social media folks:
Next time you feature a woman in tech, try to first get someone actually directly involved in the building of the technology. This is the most under-represented group, and the most in need of support and visibility.
Ultimately, if we were trying to get more women into medicine, would we be promoting the accountants in the hospital, or the doctors and nurses?
To the non-techies promoting WiT: Keep up the good fight! This is by no means a criticism of you, merely an attempt to draw attention to a group which is often overlooked.
Typically this would be the place that I would do some self-promotion, but this time I think it’ll be way more fitting to point out some amazing WiT engineers which you should definitely start following on twitter if you don’t already do so:
- Julia Evans (B0rk) Awesome developer based in Montreal with mind blowing guides/zines.
- Belén (ladybenko) Software engineer and game developer based in Spain that works for Mozilla, posting about all kinds of neat stuff.
- Suz Hinton (noopcat) Developer at Microsoft in NYC that loves mechanical keyboards and hosts a rad twitch stream of living coding.
- Sara Soueidan (SaraSoueidan) Frontend / UX engineer from Lebanon covering all kinds of interesting web related topics (especially SVG).
- Rosario Zúñiga Canivell (phpeach) London based CTO/Co-Founder of music tech startup Headliner and all around awesome person/developer (though I may be a bit biased).
- Soledad Penadés (supersole) Firefox engineer and all kinds of things related to web technologies, also based in London.
- Hilary Mason (hmason) Data scientist and VP of research at Cloudera in NYC, I’ve learned so much about machine learning thanks to her and her content.