What It’s Like to Be a female at a Tech Conference

What It’s Like to Be a female at a Tech Conference

Not long ago, we went to my very first seminar being an engineer. To offer a little bit of context, I was a musical theatre performer before I made my career transition into software engineering. Theatre, unlike STEM, is really an industry that is in serious need of men. Really, might like to do musicals? Can you form of carry a tune? Will you be a guy? You’re cast! But we digress…

This might be you, dude.

Therefore, imagine my shock whenever I went to my extremely engineering that is first as a female… it felt similar to this:

Here’s how my inner-monologue sounded:

“So…many…dudes… oh! Is that a girl? Hmmm, no… she’s from the catering group. Oh wait! Is the fact that a differnt one? NOPE only a guy with a person bun.”

The irony of most with this? I’m most of the time talks that are giving variety at these conferences. Which, hey, is very good! It indicates that the individuals operating these seminars observe that there is certainly a challenge so we want to correct it. But, seriously… this begs the question that is important Where are typical the ladies in technology? Or, to place it more casually… where my women at?

I believe it is essential to see by using the numerous tries to get “more women in tech” and “add variety to teams”, it is essential to approach this problem with passion and passion, but in addition with a feeling of humor and forgiveness. You’ll notice that this informative article will not originate from an accepted place of anger, but from a spot of understanding. As a feminist, and an engineer that is female we allow it to be a spot to be approachable rather than get upset at individuals because of their missteps or presumptions of me personally in this industry. Much me out over assuming he’s an engineer based on his plaid shirt and Patagonia jacket, I wouldn’t ever want to be aggressive towards a male for assuming I’m not an engineer like I wouldn’t want a male engineer to chew. We don’t seem like the classic stereotype- errors happen. We must all find a way to own a healthier discussion about this.

Therefore, I’ve built a high 5 list on most common experiences that I’ve had as a lady at these seminars. Women, right right here’s what things to expect/perhaps that which you’ve experienced. Men, right right here’s an understanding:

People Assume I’m Maybe Perhaps Not Just a Developer ?

As a lady engineer at a technology seminar, we find myself constantly needing to prove myself to many individuals I meet. Be that by dropping engineering buzzwords, using certainly one of my engineer inside laugh shirts (“World’s Okayest Engineer” is certainly one of our favs), or simply just saying my task name; most of the time, individuals assume from them or “someone’s daughter tagging along to the conference” (to be fair, I used to play teenagers during my acting days… but I digress) that I must be “some girl they hired to run a booth who is trying to get some swag”.

To provide some context, I’m a quirky 5’2? girl that is blonde glow spectacles and, on event, displaying pigtails or even a bow in my own locks. At first glance, a person may think “oh- she should be Zooey Deschanel’s stylist”. But we vow I’m an engineer you dudes. Therefore, once I earnestly visit your booth to know about your item and also you glaze i’m going to react when you come to get a live demo from my booth later that day over me in the crowd, here’s how:

Restrooms Are Empty

Ah yes, those types of unusual occasions in which the women’s line is… well, non-existent. I’ve started initially to have a blast with this particular by having impromptu photoshoots inside them. Enjoy these gems:

Ghost town Party time!

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The Upon Party Can Get ?? that is awkward

Visualize being the sole ladies at a club on Saturday evening (it is regrettably perhaps perhaps not The Castro or Capital Hill in Seattle ??????). Now suppose bar that is same but rented away by an awesome technology business with a few available pubs.

Okay cool- now you understand how we have actually sensed at nearly every after party I’ve visited at a technology meeting. Fortunately, I’ve just had 1 embarrassing situation that is oh-god-please-leave-me-alone far (pro-tip, never ever call anybody a “hott nerd” to split the ice). But I’ll share certainly one of my favorite moments from DockerCon:

Scene: DockerCon AfterParty on Rainey Street. Chloe approaches a Taco Truck.

Chloe: I’ll have actually 2 fish tacos be sure to.

Person Order that is taking great- am I able to obtain a name for your order?

Chloe: You can simply state “the only girl here” since… well…

Person Order that is taking! That’s real!

You’re Probably Not likely to Get Any Shirts in a Women’s Size

Or presenter coats. Or socks for example. Yeah, just don’t expect any attire to remotely fit you. ??

I’m always thrilled whenever a swag booth carries women’s sizes, and simply just take lots of pride within the proven fact that Codefresh constantly comes with a sufficient quantity of women’s clothing in every sizes. Shoutout to Mapbox, Dropbox, GitHub, Docker, and ladies who Code to be the only businesses that have actually supplied me personally with tops i will sport proudly without experiencing just like a 5 yr old wearing her dad’s top at a sleepover.

We (usually) Find Another Awesome Woman to Vent With That Is Cool

Though here may possibly not be numerous, you will find frequently a number of other lovely, smart, interesting females at these specific things. My favorite exemplory case of this will have to be Shilpa Rao, a 15 year-old who we met regarding the seminar floor at DockerCon. Shilpa and I also wandered the expo flooring for a bit together and talked about exactly just exactly what it is prefer to be a lady (and adult that is young at a technology seminar, and exactly how often it may be hard to have individuals look past stereotypes. Shilpa appeared to be experiencing comparable assumptions being a more youthful individual when I ended up being being a feminine engineer. Jokes to them, however; this woman is the co-founder of STEAM Team– a youth led organization aimed at bringing training and resources towards the kiddies of underprivileged communities when you look at the Bay region, and she even edited the following video clip for her business.

Be aware of this 1, you guys- she’s tough. Keep smashing those stereotypes, Shilpa!

In Summary…

With you or has helped you emotionally prepare for the sea-of-dudes that conferences can be if you identify as female- I hope this article either resonated.

It’s important to keep in mind that although the ratio is mostly male, having a feminine existence is among the first actions towards changing that ratio.

The greater women whom attend these occasions, the greater amount of we’ll have people thinking why latin brides beyond your package regarding “what a designer appears like”, the greater part models we now have for women (like Shilpa), as well as the more allies that are female have at these occasions. we Blog at it about it, tweet about it, and use #ilooklikeanengineer or #changetheratio hashtags while you’re. Considering going to a meeting, but afraid of experiencing away from spot? GET IT DONE. You belong there, as well as your gender ought not to dictate that.

And in case you’re male, i really hope this provides you an insight into your brain regarding the girl you notice at your booth. The next time, try and talk together with them before they need to grab your attention at your booth. I’ve high hopes that people could all be more open and aware to changing our preconceived stereotypes of just just just what an engineer “looks like”. There are plenty tastes and types of designers (not merely using a start-up top wearing/male), let’s decide to try difficult not to ever discriminate.

And, last but most certainly not least, shoutout towards the seminars supplying variety scholarships, including variety speaks with their seminars with their routine, and achieving a broad understanding of this dilemma! I will be exceedingly excited for Open supply Summit united states because of The Linux Foundation. As being a presenter, i’ve not merely been expected to accomplish a course on the best way to make my talk more comprehensive, nevertheless they have actually a whole variety track! Furthermore, shoutout to Solomon Hykes at Docker for the tweet that is followingthat is awesome!):

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