Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Daring to Code

Uncomfortable in her own skin, yet she found her beauty… in code

Code is music. The allegro march of my fingers across the alphabet, the interim pause when I press backspace, and the staccato of hitting the lone enter key when I finish a thought, are all pieces of my vocabulary. This is my chosen language, yet I am unsure I can identify with this community. I was drawn to the promise of technology that offered a world where men and women sit together, coding as equals. However, when I embrace my feminine identity, I realize that men and women are not treated the same even in the egalitarian tech industry. I refuse to allow gender bias to hold me back; I am a girl who can code and that is my identity, culture, and community.

Upon entering my first high school computer science class, my floral-patterned dress stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the sea of gray sweatpants and baggy sweatshirts. Gender no longer existed as people seemed to just follow the same “look.” Like the other females in class, I reluctantly conformed to the sea of gray in fear of dismissive reactions from my male counterparts to be “taken seriously.” Soon, I decided to challenge this “look” by embracing feminine styles-eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss-to show my true self. However, my opposition had its ramifications. Apparently, wearing lip gloss warranted some men to be more dismissive of my contributions. I asked myself, “Does wearing florals interfere with my understanding of proper coding standards? How does lip gloss hinder my ability to write code?” I became bolder. I frequently contributed my unique talent, and yes, wore lip gloss. Eventually, my detractors saw the absurdity in trying to diminish the value of my skill set. I am a girl who can code and I am not afraid to speak my mind.

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