Everywhere you look there's a group, a tweet, an ad, an inspirational quote, all geared at getting women empowered into entering the tech world. I do believe that the power of strong women together can truly move mountains and make waves, but hear me out.
My primal being needs it to need me to nurture it. I absolutely love taking care of things, which is why I have way too many house plants, a puppy, chickens, and a garden. I love tending to things. It fulfills me in this deeply relevant way that nothing else can. Programming doesn't fall into that category. And so it's this almost foreign atmosphere we must enter in order to code. And we must want to.
What gets me to code? I love to make things. When I was little my parents bought me and my sister a Barbie Dream House, you know- the one with the battery operated elevator that you had to clamp their legs into. Within a week my sister and I were engineering add-on levels for the must-haves that Mattel forgot about, like a laundry room. We spent hours upon hours crafting cardboard and masking tape architecture. That creative spark, a couple of decades later, still finds me on the daily. So code works for me, because I can approach it in that same way. I've worked with a ton of brilliant women who don't feel the same. And that's okay, because they're brilliant in other ways. They write, they make, they sing, they nurse, they listen, they hustle- in their own, absolutely brilliant ways.
I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but let me tell you something about that famous code screen. You know, the black background with colored syntax. It's awful. It feels like you're walking into a windowless room with colored Christmas lights on the floor. --shivers--. I can't speak on behalf of all women, but I like white space and breathing room. I like soft, soothing colors, and I like to feel welcome. I switched to a white and lilac code environment and let me just tell you, I think more women would be intrigued by code presented on such a nice, kind screen.
My point in all of this? Programming, to me (a real life woman), is super unnatural. And maybe it's not for every woman. And that's okay, because we need women in a lot of fields, we need them in the ones they thrive in and adore. Ladies, you do you.
If you want to help a woman enter the tech world, help her find a way to make it feel like a natural place to be. Because, it's just about as unnatural to this woman as a place can get. But, I like it here, because I found the spark that makes it feel like home.