What’s Wrong With “Women In Tech”

elle-00-women-in-tech-hThe July edition of Elle Magazine is centered around social and digital technology. Sift through the table of contents and you will find feature stories about celebrities who are dominating social media, and of course, a section about the female juggernauts in today’s tech scene. The title of the feature? “Women in Tech- The Pioneers.”

The format of the article? Glamorous but serious photographs of women who hold development or management positions at technology companies.

The problem I have is this…

First off, in even attempting to write about this, I was suddenly doubtful of my “right” to have an opinion because although I am a woman working at a technology start up- I don’t code, I’m not a product manager nor am I co-founder. Most of the lists and interviews you find highlighting “women in tech” focus exclusively on these types of roles.

I’ve been working in tech since 2010 and been an entrepreneur myself since I was 17. A fine artist and filmmaker at my core, I often fell within the marketing organizations of these companies. As discussions about the lack of representation of women working at technology companies became more prominent, it felt as though the work I was doing as a designer, content creator or storyteller, was somehow treated with less weight.

mkim 3Whenever you did hear about women in technology, it was always a story about a developer, product owner or C-level exec. Though there are a multitude of sites and organizations dedicated to advancing the position of “women in tech” the areas of focus are primarily concerned with STEM, management, leadership and development.

Last year, there was an article written by Complex Magazine called The 40 Hottest Women in Tech. It was one of the first write ups I found that actually highlighted some female creatives, designers and entertainers in the innovation space. However, the angle it took, which placed an emphasis on these women and their physical appearance as a qualifier for making that list, caused a quite a stir. It was only just a few days ago when browsing through women2.com that I saw an article by Perri Blake Gorman, one of the co-founders of unroll.me, that finally made me feel like I wasn’t alone as I imagined. Gorman said…

I want non-technical people to know that they aren’t worthless because they don’t write code.

…Read more at Women2

My experience as a “woman in tech” is masked by the fact that my area of focus is something that happens predominantly behind the scenes. Though the end result is public facing- websites, videos, articles, graphic design, events, I’ve always been the woman on the ground and behind the curtain.

As a Vietnamese-American first gen female, coming from the world of film and video production, an industry that is just as male dominated as the tech community seems to be, I know what it feels like to be a minority working with the majority.

I believe that there is true value in giving people who normally don’t hold power in numbers a chance to speak up. What I can’t get behind is this idea that by banning together we are obligated to set ourselves apart.

Is there anything so wrong about just being who you are, finding others who share your passions and doing great work that you believe in? I’m not totally sure why we are compelled to put things into boxes, constantly declare and define ourselves against one another, but I can tell you that if I have learned everything over my years it’s this:

If you are lucky enough to find and feel your purpose in this world and happen to discover others who share these things with you, that kind of genuine support goes farther than any labels, stereotypes or assumptions ever will.

We all have our hang ups, strengths, weaknesses, markers of identity and belief systems. At the end of it all, the real difference comes down to what we choose to do with them.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MYKIM DANG

Live + love to make things.  Director of Marketing @gokrash, Creative Director @thebostoniron, skateboard designer, musician, crossfitter.

Location: Boston, MA

Twitter: @MykimDang

Contact MyKim: info@womensilab.com

Read More from MyKim: MyKim’s WiLab Profile

Original Post on MEDIUM: https://medium.com/@mykimdang/whats-wrong-with-women-in-tech-23d1c4a39e13

Originally posted 2014-07-30 20:00:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter