I get asked a lot about being a woman in technology and its various niches–social media, open source, entrepreneurship, blogging. Interviewers want to know whether or not things are getting better for women, why there aren’t more women here or there, what women should or shouldn’t be doing, and what the future holds for those of us in tech who happen to have the XX chromosome. When I get these questions, I never know what to say. Being a woman doesn’t make me an expert on gender. I can only draw from my own subjective experiences during what’s been a very charmed career. But folks keep asking. So, here’s my official line on the topic, which I sent off to an interviewer just this week.
In both offline and online life, women are more visible, respected, and accomplished than they’ve ever been before. At the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, I believe now is a golden time for women in technology, a time when an awareness of the need for diversity in our field is at its highest. Conference organizers, editors, journalists, and CTOs are desperate to get knowledgeable women onto their speaker rosters, mastheads, source lists, and staff. (I know, because they ask me!) There are many opportunities for those of us who don’t look like Bill Gates, but it’s up to us to make ourselves visible, eligible, and take them.
Ladies, now is not the time for timidity. Step up, take chances, push yourself beyond your comfort zone, use your powers and influence for good, and let your expertise shine. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but we’ll only get there if you do your work, do it well, and do it where others can see and appreciate your example.
That is all. Now, speaking of work: back to it.