What Should Never Be Said to Women in Technology or Science
As you know, women are underrepresented in STEM fields and many are leaving these professions en masse. Part of the problem: the alienating and ignorant things that their colleagues say to women scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.
Kate Burlington offers on a toast a list of things that her male colleagues have said to her. Some of them are downright offensive and condescending, while others are compliments. Just a few examples (with Burlington annotations):
“How did you learn to do all this ?!” The ancient spider goddess Llorotag came to me in an agonizing, blood-drenched vision. In exchange for constantly serving as a servant, she shares her knowledge of IP subnets.
“No, when I complain about the ‘geek girls’, I don’t mean you. You are a real geek. “ Everyone will come! Says the arbiter. By his wisdom, he can tell who is a real geek and who is fake, and especially who is a bitch.
“Let me know when you want so I can help you. No offense, but you just don’t know enough about it to try it yourself. “ What could be offensive in your statement that I cannot practice some of the basic skills of our profession without your supervision?
“You are a girl, but you are not a girl, do you understand?” When Llorotag returns, you will be the first sacrifice I will place on her unholy altar.
Speaking of being a girl-girl, Sailor Mercury writes on Medium about her experience as a programmer and femininity. Not only does she often hear: “But you don’t look like a programmer!” absurd comment, people mistakenly believe she is a newbie based on her appearance alone. What’s more, the feedback she receives from peers is always gender-specific – the comments evaluate her appearance, clothing, or tone of voice, not content.
Gender diversity is an important topic, and we at Lifehacker have become more aware of it too. While these examples do not show how all men (and frankly, women) operate in these male-dominated industries, it is likely that many people say such insensitive things without realizing it.
A good rule of thumb from Sailor Mercury:
Ask yourself, “Can I give this review to a white cis man with a masculine face?”
Coding like a girl | Middle