Mind the Gap: Women in Tech
Alexandra Grant

Female engineers belong to tech, the word “women” doesn’t!

It was better 10+ years ago, when they cared about skills for the job, rather than genitalia shape (i.e. sex). “Women in tech” those days were called “engineers”, and harassment brochures were written about people, not “women”.

Today, it’s not a women’s problem, and not self-fulfilling prophecy problem, it’s a gender divide problem. Start harping on grouping (such as “us vs them”), and soon you increase both favouritism (to the members of your own group) and disrespect (to the members of the other one). When everybody sees “women, women, women” it’s hard to see “engineers”.

The famous psychological experiment shows how easy it is to prompt forming groups and start discrimination. 14–15 old boys were divided into 2 imaginary groups seemingly depending on their preference of a painter — Klee or Kandinsky. They never met each other, didn’t know names, had no clue how their group members were selected, had nothing to gain or lose, but still favoured their own “group” over the other one in distributing virtual money. Now, imagine how much harm is done to female engineers by calling them “women in tech”? When I see this phrase, I’m ready to cry. This page alone uses the word “women” 60+ times!

We should be careful what we wish for.