Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History

Awhile ago, I commented on a Facebook post about women in technology. The post explained that female developers just really don’t know what they’re doing, and that’s why the dropout rate for women in technical fields is so dramatic. About an hour or two after posting my comment, explaining that the post alienated female developers and was horrible for community morale, my notifications were blown up with comments from men. These men explained to me that I was too sensitive, and that the post was just for laughs. What they failed to realize, is that these sorts of posts that are intended just for laughs, are detrimental to the technology field. Sexist comments hurt women AND men.

Women’s rights have come a long ways in the past 20 years. However, despite the drastic improvement in how women are treated, the battle is still not over. Sexist comments towards women on social platforms like Facebook, plague tech communities and discourage women to continue pursing careers in technical fields, like programming.  In 1991, 36% of all programmers were female, and since then, has dropped to approximately 25%.

Margaret Hamilton’s Apollo code, a scene from MIT.

The big question is WHY? What is driving women away from the tech field?

There are a variety of reasons why women are driven from the tech field, the main one is that the field is predominantly populated by men. In the 1980s, when computers were first introduced in a home setting, they were marketed to men and boys. This set the tone that computers are for men. Since the 80s, the amount of women in tech has dropped significantly, and is attributed to the way computers were marketed.

Since then, the tech industry has nurtured an environment of sexism and degradation towards women. I have personally experienced this. When I was in college, obtaining my Bachelor’s in Technology, I was 1 out of 10 women, in a department of approximately 150 people. Most of the guys I went to school with didn’t care that I am female – but some of them only saw me as a female body, and not a person. One person in particular, I had to get a no contact order against, to get him to leave me alone.

Unfortunately, this kind of harassment is enough for most women to be discouraged from being in a tech field. Fortunently for me, I found an amazing group of women (and two men) to work with at JC Sweet and Co., and have had the experience of working on a brilliant collaborative team. The team at JC Sweet and Co. is bold, creative, and kind, as we work at leading the website development initiative in the Ballston Spa area. It’s our mission to help our local businesses and make an impact.

Well behaved women seldom make history – and our march forward will be extraordinary.

– Courtney Mix, Web Developer @ JC Sweet & Co.

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