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Feminism as a subset of Tech

I never thought pursuing a career path in Computer Science would make me more of a feminist.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always been one for women’s rights. I’ve always been an advocate, but simply not as aware or as vocal. I took pride in being a woman in biomedical engineering, but there was not as much discussion around the topic. In the land of software engineering, discussions about diversity run rampant.

Rightfully so, considering the numbers and the situations that almost seem cliché. I go to a recruiting event for a company I am interested in, and I am one of four women there, out of 35 or so people. I get hit on by three different guys. Don’t they realize I’m not there for them and that they need to get lost?

How about when, just today in my theory of computation course, I began reciting a proof idea, and in those three sentences I was spoken over at two points by two different men. Fortunately, my recitation leader was kind enough to stop them for me, because of course if I said something, I would be a bitch, right?

These are just a couple of my experiences, and I am just one woman in this field. It’s frustrating to have to deal with that day in, day out, and I’ve come to notice for whatever reason a solid handful of men in software engineering somehow have a superiority complex and don’t think highly of their female colleagues, so it simply makes sense that women in this field are more vocal. We’re fighting back. Women in the tech industry band together to combat this, it’s not always horrible — we are still thriving and achieving, but it can be disheartening to see what peers are facing. Mostly though, it is empowering, to be a part of badass women who have incredible ideas and are ready to show the world. It makes me more excited to reach high and accomplish the goals I set for myself.

It also has made me more receptive to other viewpoints in tech as well, whether it be for POC or LGBTQ, or an intersection of these. I appreciate this awareness every single day, because coming from a position of straight white privilege, I want to not only understand, but be the most supportive I can be.

I think my voice about my role in society has gotten stronger since beginning to study computer science. I’m not sure why, since statistically, female engineers (general) and female software engineers are both about 20% in their respective fields. Maybe it’s because the men in software are more aggressive. Maybe it is because the women in computer science are more vocal. I can’t quite put a pinpoint on it, but I appreciate it.

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