I am working as a Data Researcher at a tech startup in Singapore and have been exposed to many technology meetups, talks, seminars and conferences since my university days for over 3 years now and have presented and hosted a few of them over these years.
I have observed that a minimal % of women show up on an event, across all technology areas.
One the other side of the purview, there is a strong community building for women in tech. Many coding groups specially dedicated to women, various media with separate sections talking just about women leaders, inspiring stories and examples. Seminars where women talk just about women and the idea of leaning in. Well, that's good. It’s restrictive at the same time.
I think the main issue is when you don’t see any of these women at places which are not tagged with their gender. Talks about technology and people sharing and learning from each other and contributing to the ecosystem, in their own ways.
I don’t know whether these support groups are actually helping women. Is it leaning in or attempts to segregate, create tags and stand out?
I am not denying the fact that there are fewer women in the industry and it’s also true that gender stereotyping exists.
But, I see talented women forming separate groups and missing out on being both, a contributor and a beneficiary.They can be involved in groups that are not biased towards a gender, color, race, sexual orientation, age and region.
I am sure there are many.
If we don’t raise issues like this , hundreds of other groups like oldmenwhocode, blackswhocode or gayswhocode also deserve similar attention . If they don’t get it, should we start another debate about equality? or should we bring back the focus on coding?
If you code, please be there with everyone. Don’t try to stand out when you are already awesome.