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

Not long ago, we went to my conference that is first as engineer. To offer a bit of context, I was a musical theatre performer before I made my career transition into software engineering. Theatre, unlike STEM, is an industry that is in serious need of males. Really, want to do musicals? Can you types of carry a tune? Have you been a guy? You’re cast! But we digress…

This might be you, guy.

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

Here’s just just how my inner-monologue sounded:

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

The irony of all of the of this? I will be most of the time providing speaks on variety at these seminars. Which, hey, is fantastic! This means that the individuals operating these seminars note that there clearly was a challenge and we also have to correct it. But, seriously… this begs the crucial concern: Where are the ladies in technology? Or, to place it more casually… where my women at?

I do believe it is essential to notice that with the numerous tries to get “more women in tech” and diversity that is“add teams”, it is essential to approach this matter with passion and enthusiasm, but additionally with a feeling of humor and forgiveness. You’ll notice that this informative article doesn’t result from an accepted host to anger, but from a spot of understanding. As being a feminist, and an engineer that is female we ensure it is a place become approachable rather than get upset at individuals with regards to their missteps or presumptions of me 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 possess a conversation that is healthy this.

And thus, I’ve built a premier 5 list on most experiences that are common I’ve had as a female at these seminars. Women, right here’s things to expect/perhaps that which you’ve skilled. Men, right right here’s an understanding:

A lot of people Assume I’m Maybe Not Just a Developer ?

As women engineer at a technology meeting, we find myself constantly needing to show myself to the majority of individuals I meet. Be that by dropping engineering buzzwords, putting on certainly one of my engineer inside joke shirts (“World’s Okayest Engineer” is certainly one of my own favs), or just saying my work name; generally, people 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 offer some context, I’m a quirky 5’2? girl that is blonde glow cups and, on event, displaying pigtails or perhaps a bow within my locks. An individual may think “oh- she must be Zooey Deschanel’s stylist” at first glance. But we vow I’m an engineer you dudes. So, whenever I earnestly visit your booth to know about your product or service and you also glaze over me personally when you look at the crowd, right here’s exactly how I’m going to respond whenever you arrive at obtain a live demo from my booth later on that day:

Restrooms Are Empty

Ah yes, those types of unusual occasions where in fact the line that is women’s… 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!

” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/shift.newco.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/thumbs-up.jpeg?fit=225%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/shift.newco.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/thumbs-up.jpeg?fit=660%2C880&ssl=1″ > Party time!

The Upon Party Can Get ?? that is awkward

Envision being the sole ladies at a club on Saturday evening (this will be unfortuitously maybe perhaps perhaps not The Castro or Capital Hill in Seattle ??????). Now suppose bar that is same but rented away by an awesome tech business with a few available pubs.

Okay cool- now you discover how We have believed at nearly every after party I’ve visited at a technology meeting. Fortunately, I’ve only had 1 embarrassing situation that is oh-god-please-leave-me-alone far (pro-tip, never ever phone 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 seafood tacos please.

Person using Order: Ok great- could I get a title for your order?

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

Person Using Order: Ha! 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 just simply waplog profile search take lots of pride into the proven fact that Codefresh constantly posseses a sufficient number of women’s attire in most sizes. Shoutout to Mapbox, Dropbox, GitHub, Docker, and women that Code to be the companies that are only have actually supplied me personally with shirts i could sport proudly without experiencing such as 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 not be many, you will find often a small number of other lovely, smart, interesting females at these exact things. My favorite exemplory case of this would need to be Shilpa Rao, a 15 year-old who we came across in the meeting flooring at DockerCon. Shilpa and I also wandered the expo flooring for a little together and discussed just just what it is prefer to be a lady (and adult that is young at a technology meeting, and just how often it could be hard to have individuals look past stereotypes. Shilpa seemed to be experiencing comparable presumptions being a more youthful individual when I ended up being as being an engineer that is female. Jokes she is the co-founder of STEAM Team– a youth led organization geared towards bringing education and resources to the children of underprivileged communities in the Bay Area, and she even edited the following video for her company on them, though.

Be aware of that one, you guys- she’s intense. Keep smashing those stereotypes, Shilpa!

In Closing…

In the event that you identify as feminine- i really hope this informative article either resonated with you or has assisted you emotionally get ready for the sea-of-dudes that seminars could be.

It’s important to keep in mind that although the ratio is mostly male, having a presence that is female one of the primary steps towards changing that ratio.

The greater women that attend these occasions, the greater amount of we’ll have actually individuals thinking outside of the field with regards to “what a designer appears like”, the greater part models we now have for women (like Shilpa), while the more allies that are female have at these activities. we Blog at it about it, tweet about it, and use #ilooklikeanengineer or #changetheratio hashtags while you’re. Contemplating going to a seminar, but afraid of feeling away from spot? GET IT DONE. You belong here, as well as your sex should not dictate that.

And in case you’re male, i really hope this provides you an understanding of your head for the girl the thing is that at your booth. The next occasion, try to talk together with them before they should 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 exactly just what an engineer “looks like”. You can find many tastes and types of designers (not only putting on a shirt that is start-up), let’s decide to try difficult to not discriminate.

And, last but most certainly not least, shoutout into the seminars diversity that is providing, incorporating diversity speaks with their seminars for their routine, and achieving an over-all knowing of this dilemma! I will be exceedingly excited for Open supply Summit united states by The Linux Foundation. Being a presenter, i’ve not just been expected to perform a course on the best way to make my talk more comprehensive, nonetheless they have actually a diversity track that is entire! Also, shoutout to Solomon Hykes at Docker for the tweet that is followingthis is certainly awesome!):

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