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Annika_H for SinnerSchrader Engineers

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Underrepresented Groups in Tech depicted in Popular Culture - a Personal Review of "Good Trouble"

I don’t know about you but I am always on the hunt for new TV shows to binge in my free time. When one of my friends told me about a series she’s recently watched and approved I was intrigued and had to find out myself if this one was really that binge worthy.

In my country of residence, which is Germany, the first two seasons of “Good Trouble” are available on Disney+ (not sponsored). Luckily I already subscribed so I could start right away.

If you’re wondering why I want to talk about this show on dev.to, let me explain. “Good Trouble” is actually a spin-off series of “The Fosters” (I didn’t know it before) and is about two characters Callie and Mariana who are about to start the next chapter of their lives after university. And guess what? Mariana went to MIT and started her job as a software engineer in a fancy Tech company in Los Angeles.

During the first minutes, I thought that it was another “coming of age-twenty-something-life in L.A.” kind of series and I was actually surprised to see how it quickly developed and critically depicts various societal issues. One of them being how women, or underrepresented groups in general, are treated in tech.

Mariana is hyped and confident that she will rock her new role after she’s been able to prove herself at MIT. Naturally, she wants to make a good first impression and dresses up accordingly. When she meets her team, her dream bursts with a bang. Just like the entire company, the team is male dominated (including the CEO) and instead of appreciating diversity and welcoming a woman on their team, they treat her disrespectfully from day one.

As mentioned earlier, the show depicts various topics, however, I was particularly intrigued by the fact that it deals with the issues of the tech industry. While Mariana reaches her limits in this toxic environment, she also decides to fight the occurring inequalities and starts an initiative to raise awareness and improve things.

I’m not a developer myself but I’ve worked in this field for the last two years and I quickly learned about the grievances, particularly when it comes to inclusion and diversity. In my opinion, the series portrays these quite accurately.

Mariana is a great developer and has to fight so hard to even prove her talent. She is bold and brings the power to address the issues she is facing at her company but before she was there nobody dared to do it. There are other colleagues of underrepresented groups who live in fear of losing their jobs if they speak up and the worst part of it all is that it’s not even .

Just like in real life, the people who suffer from injustice are also the ones who become activists and strive to create a better environment for themselves. Mariana and her colleagues do find allies eventually but the fight is still not over. When she gets a promotion or the chance to lead a project (which was her own idea) she is accused of getting her way only because she is a woman and not because she is good at what she does.

There are so many examples I could name from the show I could relate to as a woman and as an ally to underrepresented people in tech, I could probably even write several books about this topic. In the end, what I want to achieve by talking about the show is to point out that 1. The issue is real (and even has arrived in pop culture) and 2. I really really want people to watch it.

It made me feel empowered because I felt with the characters and it also made me feel hopeful to see that topics like inclusion and diversity (in the workplace but also in everyday life) are incorporated into mainstream TV shows. I know that most of the people who watch shows like that are already educated but I also genuinely wish for people to check it out who are living in their privileged bubble. It’s important to read, talk, share knowledge and listen to each other but it’s also SO GREAT that series like these exist and we need more of this!

This brings me to my last point. I wouldn’t have discovered the series (or the fact that it deals with the tech industry issue) without my friend. But I want to watch more of this stuff and I’m sure that there is more of it out there. So please feel free to share TV shows, movies etc. you know of that critically deal with inclusion and diversity in the tech industry (or the workfield in general). I would love to watch and share them.

Discussion (1)

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Josefine Schfr

Thanks for sharing this Annika and getting me to start watching this show - really fell in love with it, especially because some situations are painfully close to reality.
Can anyone recommend more shows like this about our industry? :)