Margot Huysman is sure to enrage the sisterhood with this broadside against ‘women in tech’ events and the special treatment women are afforded in the industry.
“Women in tech.” Can you think of a more boring subject? Maybe men in tech. And why is that? Because no one cares! Or at least, for crying out loud, no one should.
I’m new to the tech scene and I’ve been bowled over by the attention lavished on women. I’m struggling to work out why. According to the gushing praise “women in tech” seem to get on a weekly basis, should we be concerned about the lack of females in the industry?
Whenever a woman founds a start-up or lands a high-paying job in the technology industry, apparently there is a need to celebrate. Facebook has female engineers! Quick, alert the media! A woman wants to start her own tech company? Good grief, this is major news.
Well let me tell you something, as a woman, I find all this attention incredibly patronising.
Focusing attention on the gender of a person rather than their efforts is demeaning. So, what, a bunch women get all this recognition because they have a vagina? Last time I checked, when a man’s business is being put forward, there is little mention of his sex.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that there are women who work in technology, and I am very pleased to see they have good ideas and have talent in what they do, but that’s the only thing I am interested in.
Google “women in tech” and you will see what I mean. Page after page of bland, snooze-inducing websites targeted at women who work in the industry. Clubs, societies, you name it. These brainy babes aren’t just part of the tech industry, no: they’re part of a select club of “women in tech”, who apparently warrant celebration merely for showing up to work.
Search for “men in tech” and… well, I think you can guess.
So why are we so obsessed with women in tech? Is it because we like the idea of a woman who has broken societal norms – shoes, lipstick, making babies – and slung themselves in front of a laptop? Since when was turning women into men the purpose of feminism? Oh, it’s a woman who’s forgotten she’s a woman… how empowering! Err… not.
It’s all well and good to bring attention to the fact that women are a minority in this industry, but by going on and on (and on) about it, and celebrating women simply for being women, we are only reinforcing the idea that ladies are playing in a field they don’t belong in.
Recently, I was asked whether or not I liked fashion. The person I was talking to was looking for fashion writers for a new project. I was not particularly insulted to be asked, although fashion is definitely not something I would be comfortable writing about, but the fact that he asked me, a woman, and none of the men around me highlights my point.
We want to believe women are only interested in certain areas – possibly because most of them are. When it turns out we like other things, men are surprised.
The best thing the technology industry can do for women in tech is to shut the hell up about them, because the only way to prove we have achieved equality – which, by the way, we have – is to treat women the way we treat men; to create a level playing field dependent solely on merit.
So, please, let’s celebrate women for their ideas and for what they bring to the table. Not for being born with tits.
Oh, and by the way: there’s only one thing worse than dumpy, red-headed lesbians banging on about “equality”, and that’s the pussywhipped male tech bloggers who never miss an opportunity to big up the ladies. Barf!