Very nice article!
I would like to add my own story, if I may.
Looking back, there were a few hurdles for me as well, but only at the beginning. Then again, those were big enough:
We had to choose one of the three following classes: french, biology or IT.
I hated bio with a passion and thanks to neopets pet pages, I just recently got into html a bit, so I signed up for IT. This class had a limit of 30 students. 32 singed up. 2 women. "They are just girls, they won't be able to do this anyway" -> the two of us ended up in french then -.- (same for an other set of electives with the same teacher a few weeks later)
Thankfully, there was an other teacher (he was in his first year at the school) who did not throw girls out of his IT classes. There I did learn a bit HTML (mostly "This is html.org, this is some webspace, good luck and have fun"), while 3/4 of the other girls there learned how to actually operate a PC, how to use mouse and keyboard where to switch it on and so on.
Some weren't allowed to use their fathers PC, since they might break something, so this was the very first time in their live, that they were using a PC. (No.. their mothers did not have a PC either) Before this class, one classmate described a PC to me as "this really expensive and complicated machine, that I must never even look at or I might break it!" <- I am now 32 so all of this happend more then 15 years ago.. still... with this kind of "encouragement" it is no wonder, why there are so few women in tech.
Thanks to this one teacher (and my father and elder brother who had no problems at all with me using a PC or owning a gaming console), I did not give up on IT then. And thanks to my own computer und my playstation I got more and more interested in tech. (Lara Croft turned out to be my very first kinda role model)
From then on, it was rather smooth sailing for me.
Sure, in every IT class there were never more then 2 other girls but we also never got trouble from the boys and I got into quite a few healthy rivalries from time to time. ( I did Judo at the time and looked like a tomboy, so I guess this helped ;-) )
Since those early school years I also never experienced any gender based negativity from teachers either. (Now that I think about it, all the way up to and including uni, the only female teachers I had in any technical school, taught languages or law. Nothing directly related to IT. Unless you count that female substitute teacher once, who insisted that 3220.127.116.11 is a valid IPv4 Address...)
Without this one teacher, I most likely would have given up on IT and started to believe, that this is "nothing for girls".
Thank you so much for sharing! So happy you had your family's support and encouragement and were able to push past the shortsightedness of your teachers <3 I also started learning HTML through Neopets back in the day!!
Neopets had been such a great place ^
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