You’re Not One of The Boys

How women sabotage themselves in the tech industry

(Statements are paraphrased the best way I could recall them)

I had heard the statements above at the Ladies in New Business event organised by Netokracija.

The weird part?

Those statements were all said by women.

I can’t help but to worry about what this means for equal rights. If even women think that being treated differently based on gender isn’t a problem, then who will drive the change?

The recurring theme in the comments above seems to be the “boy’s club argument”.

If you think that you are somehow special because you’ve gotten the ticket into the boys’ club, you are walking around with a blindfold on.

Oh sure, it’s other women who get paid less. It’s other women who need to prove time and time again that they’re excellent engineers. You — you’ve cracked the system. There is no problem! You just need to work harder and earn your place at the table!

But if you complain about yet another sexist joke pasted into Slack by one of your coworkers, your status of being “one of the boys” is over. You’ll quickly become the PMSing bitch who doesn’t get the joke.

The male membership in the boys’ club is irrevokable. Yours is contingent on your non-assertiveness.

Do you still think that there is no problem?

The real issue is that some women refuse to educate themselves on sexism. What can I say, there are black people working on Trump’s campaign.

Let’s try a sexism check 101. Next time you’re unsure if something is sexist or not, think: would the same thing apply to men?

  • Are male project leads often ignored in business meetings?
  • Are men accused of acting bossy when they’re being assertive?
  • Is it surprising when a man can program well?
  • Are men told to grow a thicker skin?
  • Have you ever heard that programming isn’t naturally interesting to men?
  • Are men being protected or guided without asking for it?

Let’s just recap the facts. Women represent half of the world population. Why is it that they only take 30% of the leadership and technology roles in businesses? Why do 41% of women end up leaving the sector altogether?

Your workplace is likely no different. Just because some men pat your back and tell you how you’re “their favourite female man”, they don’t see you as any more equal.

Let’s clarify something. Cracking open a can of beer from the office bar at the end of the workday (“geek culture”) is not equality. Laughing at misogynistic jokes just to keep up the facade of friendliness is not equality.

“Men are welcome to attend — nothing is going to change without your support,” was one of the slogans repeated throughout the event.

That’s not what we need right now.

It’s not that we don’t need men for equality. It’s that judging by what I’ve seen on Ladies of New Business, we first need women. We need women to get educated and start recognising what’s going on. And the boys’ club doesn’t exactly hold weekly meetings on feminism.