I’m pretty tired of the women in tech ‘debate’. Why? Because I think we fail to appreciate how women are demonstrating their tech involvement in a space they are creating themselves. Women are in tech, in huge numbers – they’re just not seen unless they are in traditional tech roles that involve a cubicle and 9-5 work day, and that shows how limited the debate really is. Let me explain.
I’m proudly a woman in tech. I am a researcher, a PhD student in the ATLAS Institute at CU. I hold an RA appointment in the Dept of Computer Science’s Project EPIC (Empowering People in Crisis), which looks at how social media tools can empower all stakeholders in crises such as natural disasters. I am absolutely behind every woman in a tech field, we need all of them.
I’m also a mum blogger. I own and respect the tag. And that makes me a woman in tech in another sense.
Telling stories is something women are fantastic at. And it’s in the telling stories space where you’re going to find some incredibly tech-savvy women, all demonstrating their expertise. In fact, that’s where a massive number of the women are in tech.
You might look down your nose on ‘moms who blog’. Many, many people do (including some – many – moms who blog). But let me tell you, over the last few months, even though I’m engaged with mom bloggers every day, I’ve been humbled by the number of moms who have extremely good technical, real computing know-how, building not only the technologies but also the brands and relationships of their media enterprises. An enterprise that might begin with a blog, but expands to video and podcast content as well. They are learning what makes great businesses in the tech domain while they have the rubber to the road and are doing it all themselves. These are women with training in some technical areas, either professional training or self-taught. They are networked and engaged. They are entrepreneurial – it takes real guts to create content, put a brand on it and push it out there. And they are accomplished. (Yeah, they are.)
Recently, I was invited and became a member of a local group of social-media-savvy moms. Not all are bloggers, but all are switched on, professional, creative and so darned impressively tech knowledgeable, I’m learning every day from them. (Yes I am. I have so much to learn.)
Most people choose to forget that moms who blog usually had some kind of professional or paid position before becoming mothers. And they were great at that job. So why is it so hard to believe that just because a woman has children she loses her professionalism? Sure, many women become bloggers as a hobby, but most look for something more pretty quickly. They’re surrounded by other successful women who are making something of their blogs, or who would love it if that opportunity arose (it’s there, you just have to embrace it). Nobody will retire on the money they make, but many find a continued realisation of their professional value and worth through their blog.
Yes, dear friend, mom bloggers are women in tech. They might not be in the spaces you speak of, nor do they fit your picture of a power woman in a cubicle blending in with the guys in a technical space that somehow, for some limited reason, you think is valuable. But there are a stack of accomplished women building brilliant companies, brands, dare I call them – startups (yep, I said it). They have networks, and collective intelligence like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
They’re teaching each other. They understand what they’re doing. And if you’re not watching, they’ll use it to take you on.