It has taken me some time to wrap my head around being a woman in tech. What does that mean exactly? I don't code - although I've recently coded blogs I have posted to Plank's website. And minimal as that coding was, it came from me and I was darn proud of it.
I have since learned that women in tech make up a myriad of positions from web designers to project managers, directors to developers. It's a fascinating world where multiple skills are used to solve problems, design solutions and create, think and collaborate on projects that matter.
A little digging though, and myths about women in tech are abundant. Myths that can and should be debunked. Especially if we want to encourage and support young women to enter and excel in STEM. And we do.
So de-bunking is the order of the day. And because I needed help from someone who has long worked in this industry, I sought out a friend, a woman in tech: Sasha Endoh. These are her answers to these many myths, as we lay them to rest once and for all.
Myth 1 - Women aren't as good in math and science as men.
Research has actually completely debunked this myth already. It's also important to remember that women were the first programers. They were the first computer scientists. Women pioneered the field of programming, and jobs in this field were originally marketed as women's work. Of course, once the possibilities and power behind programming became more apparent, myths like this one became more prevalent in the interest of making sure that this power goes to men.
Myth 2 - Tech jobs are isolating and not conducive to women who are more social.
There are women who are more social and women who are less social. And even though we're working with tech, we're ultimately working with people and for people. So whether you like to be social or not there is a job for you in tech.
Myth 3 - Women and young girls just aren't as interested in tech.
(Eye rolling!) Little girls are just as interested in math and science as little boys are. They just don't have as many role models to look up to. And then they're being told they are not as good in math and science - so it's just discouraging to pursue any kind of education or career in this industry for them.
Myth 4 - You need to code to work in tech.
Coding is just one small part of what it takes to put together a tech product or service. You can be a writer, a designer, you can be a manager. There are all kinds of jobs in tech and you can fill them with all kinds of different people from all kinds of different fields.
Myth 5 - You'll never find a work life balance working in tech.
That depends on your employer and your ability to set and keep boundaries. A lot of employers really care about the well being of their employees and there are those who will suck you dry if you let them. This is not a problem isolated to tech. It's our culture, it's how we think about what we should be doing with our time. I don't think this is a tech issue and I think you can really find balance if you want it.
So there you have it. Thank you Sasha and thank you to the amazing women from Plank who are showcased in this post. I truly believe there is no reason why any woman should ever feel that this world is out of their grasp. On the contrary, they should take hold with both fists and storm into the industry with the kind of confidence and knowing that will inspire those that follow.
At Plank, 60% of our staff are women in an industry that remains dominated by men. That diversity makes our digital design agency what it is. I'm proud to now call myself, with confidence, a woman in tech. And I will always effort to empower the women around me, and all those who come after me, so that no one will ever feel that there is anything they can't do.