Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Calling all Women Role Models

Girls want hope to know they can be more than their fairy tales and text books, they want a dream that is graspable. Photo by Loren Joseph on Unsplash

I hear a lot from women who say they were rejected or were undermined just because they were women. Lots of articles I have read state this and I cannot agree more with how we must stand up and power-through.

For many girls and women though, this isn’t easy. We, as older women, have gotten to a point where we know what is important to us, for a happy,content life, what we are good at and what we can be better at after multiple re-iteration cycles and failures. But girls unfortunately still have to come a long way to this realisation, this rejection and this patriarchy propelled society we live in.

They are still waiting for their train, probably on the wrong platform.

I agreed with Dinah Davis’ article, “Girls need role models.” The bigger problem in my experience is not the lack of role models, but rather that women hold what they know very closely to their heart, rarely ever willing to let knowledge seep through for the fear of being overtaken career-wise. It would be a whole new ball game if women who have been there, done that and want to do so much more could guide girls, share visions and build dreams, rather than just letting girls find role models through books and TV.

I have not had a motivating, thriving or nurturing experience with female role models in the past. Men on the other hand have raised me up higher, made me believe more in myself, and have taught me things women keep very close to themselves. I can’t help but question how my growth may have been different if I had been groomed and led by a women who shared and believed in my visions.

This does not stem from the fact that I was raised with more barbies and less with mechanical toys, but more from the fact that women who were within an arm’s reach never gave me anything to be inspired by. I had to look up women like Indira Gandhi or Mother Teresa in encyclopaedias to feel inspired.

Do you understand the insight and comprehension a 12 year old girl needs to have in order to bridge the gap between where she is now and what she has to do to be the next Kalpana Chawla?

Imagine now, her classmates mother, a UX designer, instead gave her insight into all the things she did to make wonderful apps that makes people's lives easier.

A role model whose dreams have turned into reality that is graspable, not a story in the encyclopedia or history books.

This is what I wish to see with women as role models.

I am 27 years old, with a degree in Power Engineering, a passion for coding and a love to combine people and tech. I have been at my business development job for the last 6 months and I am still wrapping my head around how to excel at it.

The job itself isn’t brand new, but the concepts I am learning at this new company are very new to me. While I am motivated deliver more than I ever have before, I feel lost. I feel lucky that, I have met some wonderful women who opened up their hearts to share what they know and urge me to ask more. However, I am disappointed that some women smirk and say,

“WOW! you are too young, barely any experience. I have been in xyz field since the past 15 years, and it takes a lot to get here.

Good luck though!”

Let me assure you 100%, that some of the men I have met have a multitude more experience, play it down and say,

“ oh you wanna learn that? Here’s where you can find more information, and I am here if you need more inputs!”

Why are women so protective of everything they know? Why are we insecure, and why aren’t men? Why are we shielding ourselves?

During my Master studies, I had two men, a mentor and a professor who I went to often for guidance on anything that I could not decide on for example:

“Should I go to California and do a mediocre thesis? Or should I stay here and work on a topic I have wanted to work on for very long?”

I honestly cannot thank them enough for their guidance. When I do, I always hear this from them, and this is something that has impacted me since:

“Pay it forward Aish, no need to thank me”

Even at a young age, I have always had girls/women do mean crazy things to push other women away in fear of competition. This includes gossiping, stealing important notes from classes, and taking advantage of someone willing to help. The more women I run into, the more this fear builds in me :

“What if there is more negativity in the organisation because we aren’t going to nurture each other?”

Nevertheless, some women DO in fact, give me hope.

It is our duty to ensure that no girl trips on the same rope we tripped on

If we can all agree that we, unlike men, do not have a level playing field, then it is our responsibility to level that field. Nurturing every dreamy, starry eyed woman or girl by helping them become better than they can even imagine is the key for every role model.

We hold within us the strength to ignite a flame. All we need is a spark,

“If she can do it, I can too. If she jumped obstacles, however difficult, I can do it too.

And if she says I can do it, I really can do it too.”

Teach them to nurture by nurturing their dreams.There are girls waiting to receive kind words from you, waiting to see your encouraging smile.

I urge every women out there, lower this shield you have guarding you and reflect on how far you’ve gotten.

Done?

Now, pay it forward.