Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Women in tech: constant fight for gender balance

Even in an era when gender inequality may seem like a problem from the past, things are not yet very balanced. And they are even more alarming in tech world.

It’s common knowledge that there are more and more organizations trying to fight the gender gap in technology, but people are still denying its existence. And not so long ago, back in my college days, jokes on girls in tech were a major hit between the students. Girls enrolled in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, to be more precise. The most popular one: “What’s the difference between a boy and a girl studying engineering? — The girl has a pink calculator!”. So, why stereotyping if everything’s perfectly balanced?

Based on a CNET research from few months ago (complete article here: http://www.cnet.com/news/women-in-tech-the-numbers-dont-add-up), numbers don’t really add up for women in tech. Their stats say the overall percentage of women in the major US tech companies is around 30%, but it goes from 10–20% for tech roles. That’s not something that can be denied.

How did I become part of the ‘gender balance in technology’ fight?

A year ago, I accidentally read about a program created for the purpose of fighting the gender gap in technology. It instantly got my interest, probably because it was founded by young women who are themselves part of the tech world. The idea behind the whole thing was simple — a web platform where girls can learn a programming language, mentored by experienced professionals. Named, of course, “Learn IT Girl!”.

So, I joined.

Trying to get the best out of someone, and the best out of yourself actually, when you face different limitations can really boost your creativeness.

I volunteered as a mentor and got assigned a clever young girl from Romania. Have to say, mentoring someone online can be quite a challenge. You can’t use the common techniques and have to find alternative and creative ways to explain something. There was some drawing, code snapshots and lots of draining skype sessions. But, it was fun!

Trying to get the best out of someone, and the best out of yourself actually, when you face different limitations can really boost your creativeness. And there’s that feeling of pride and satisfaction when everything ends and you know you helped a young girl find her place out there. I don’t think there’s anything more rewarding than knowing you made a difference in someone’s life.

And, here we are, at the dawn of the new edition. Smarter, wiser, awaiting for the new challenges and brand new friendships. Hope it’s even more successful than the last one.