by Krista Downey
Cyberspace is littered with stories about technology – its philanthropic value, how it can end poverty and better our lives. Does it matter if the pioneers are women? An article in The New Yorker written by Matt Buchanan demonstrates that women are still 'outsiders' in the male dominated tech industry.
Earlier this month, Pycon, an annual conference dedicated to the open-source Python programming language was the setting of much controversy and emphasized the misogynist culture still prevalent. Amanda Blum, a Portland-based technology consultant wrote about the situation. “Sexism runs so deep and so organic in the industry that even men who would see it in other places don’t recognize it in our insulated world”.
“Sexism runs so deep and so organic to the industry that even men who would see it in other places don't recognize it in our insulated world”
There are not enough women working in technology and related fields. Why? Maybe women should stop looking at what is wrong and start capitalizing on what is right. Adria Richards, formerly of SendGrid and the instigator of the Pycon outrage, took a risk and wrote about her experience. Her actions resulted in dismissal and public ‘stoning’, however, if more women like her, took a stand, change would happen faster. Courtney Stanton's experiences are subtle and writes about them regularly here at The Geek Feminism Wiki. These women are talking about it…
The majority of the women that made The Forty Hottest Women in Tech list are well respected in the industry. Some may say women like Jade Raymond of Ubisoft Toronto, Alisa Chumachenko of Game Insight International, Gina Trapani of Lifehacker and Kim Swift of Airtight Games took a risk with their participation. Or, maybe they are capitalizing on the uniqueness of being a woman rather than being victimized by it. These women have the power and influence to shift perceptions.
Instead of merely talking about the latest tech gadget or game, maybe they should be having conversations about why using language like “dongle” and “forking” out of context can change lives.