My positive experience as a woman in tech

Women speaking up about the sexism they have experienced in tech is great for raising awareness about the issues. However, when no positive stories get out, the overall picture painted is bleak, which could scare even more women away.

Lucky for me, I fell in love with programming a decade before I even heard there is a sexism problem in tech. Had I read about it before, I might have decided to go for some other profession. Who wants to be fighting an uphill battle all her life?

Thankfully, my experience has been quite different. Being in this industry has brought me nothing but happiness. Yes, there are several women who have had terrible experiences, and I’m in no way discounting them. They may even be the majority, though I am not aware of any statistics. However, there is also the other side. Those of us who have had incredibly positive experiences, and have always been treated with nothing but respect. That side’s stories need to be heard too, not silenced out of fear that we will become complacent and stop trying for more equality. Stories like mine should become the norm, not the exception.

I’ve had a number of different roles in tech over the course of my life. I’ve been a student, a speaker & author, I’ve worked at W3C, I’ve started & maintain several successful open source projects and I’m currently dabbling in Computer Science research. In none of these roles did I ever feel I was unfairly treated due to my gender. That is not because I’m oblivious to sexism. I tend to be very sensitive to seeing it, and I often notice even the smallest acts of sexism (“death by a thousand paper cuts”). I see a lot of sexism in society overall. However, inside this industry, my gender never seemed to matter much, except perhaps in positive ways.

On my open source repos, I have several contributors, the overwhelming majority of which, is male. I’ve never felt less respected due to my gender. I’ve never felt that my work was taken less seriously than male OSS developers. I’ve never felt my contributors would not listen to me. I’ve never felt my work was unfairly scrutinized. Even when I didn’t know something, or introduced a horrible bug, I’ve never been insulted or berated. The community has been nothing but friendly, helpful and respectful. If anything, I’ve sometimes wondered if my gender is the reason I hardly ever get any shit!

On stage, I’ve never gotten any negative reactions. My talks always get excellent reviews, which have nothing to do with me being female. There is sometimes the odd complimentary tweet about my looks, but that’s not only exceedingly rare, but also always combined with a compliment about the actual talk content. My gender only affected my internal motivation: I often felt I had to be good, otherwise I would be painting all female tech speakers in a negative light. But other people are not at fault for my own stereotype threat.

My book, CSS Secrets, has been as successful as an advanced CSS book could possibly aspire to be and got to an average of 5 stars on Amazon only a few months after its release. It’s steadily the 5th bestseller on CSS and was No 1 for a while shortly after publication. My gender did not seem to negatively affect any of that, even though there’s a picture of me in the french flap so there are no doubts about me being female (as if the name Lea wasn’t enough of a hint).

As a student, I’ve never felt unfairly treated due to my gender by any of my professors, even the ones in Greece, a country that is not particularly famous for its gender equal society, to put it mildly.

As a new researcher, I have no experience with publishing papers yet, so I cannot share any experiences on that. However, I’ve been treated with nothing but respect by both my advisor and colleagues. My opinion is always heard and valued and even when people don’t agree, I can debate it as long and as intensely as I want, without being seen as aggressive or “bossy”.

I’ve worked at W3C and still participate as an Invited Expert in the CSS Working Group. In neither of these roles did my gender seem to matter in any way. I’ve always felt that my expertise and skillset were valued and my opinions heard. In fact, the most well-respected member of the CSS WG, is the only other woman in it: fantasai.

Lastly, In all my years as a working professional, I’ve always negotiated any kind of remuneration, often hard. I’ve never lost an opportunity because of it, or been treated with negativity afterwards.

On the flip side, sexism today is rarely overt. Given that hardly anybody over ten will flat out admit they think women are inferior (even to themselves), it’s often hard to tell when a certain behavior stems from sexist beliefs. If someone is a douchebag to you, are they doing it because you’re a woman, or because they’re douchebags? If someone is criticizing your work, are they doing it because they genuinely found something to criticize or because they’re negatively predisposed due to your gender? It’s impossible to know, especially since they don’t know either! If you confront them on their sexism, they will deny all of it, and truly believe it. It takes a lot of introspection to see one’s internalized stereotypes. Therefore, a lot of the time, you cannot be sure if you have experienced sexist behavior, and there is no way to find out for sure, since the perpetrator doesn’t know either. There are many false positives and false negatives there.

Perhaps I don’t feel I have experienced much sexism because I prefer to err on the side of false negatives. Paraphrasing Blackstone, I would rather not call out sexist behavior ten times, than wrongly accuse someone of it once. It might also have to do with my personality: I’m generally confident and can be very assertive. When somebody is being a jerk to me, I will not curl in a ball and question my life choices, I will reply to them in the same tone. However, those two alone cannot make the difference between a pit rampant with sexism and an egalitarian paradise. I think a lot of it is that we have genuinely made progress, and we should celebrate it with more women coming out with their positive experiences (it cannot just be me, right?).

Ironically, one of the very few times I have experienced any sexism in the industry was when a dude was trying to be nice to me. I was in a speaker room at a conference in Las Vegas, frantically working on my slides, not participating in any of the conversations around me. At some point, one of the guys said “fuck” in a conversation, then turned and apologized to me. Irritated about the sudden interruption, I lifted my head and looked around. I noticed for the first time that day that I was the only woman in the room. His effort to be courteous made me feel that I was different, the odd one out, the one we must be careful around and treat like a fragile flower. To this day, I regret being too startled to reply “Eh, I don’t give a fuck”.

  • Carlos

    Lea, I just wanna say, not as a man, but as a geek and a web developer, that you inspire me to be better each day. The way you understand each detail of the css world made me research a lot.

    So, I bought your book, read it each day, and applied it in my daily work.

    3 months later, i can say that part of the skills I have now, are related to your videos and book. And the idea of being man or woman doesn’t matter to me. The big deal is to show to the world the how great you are.

    And, no doubts, you’re one of the greatest developers i know.

    Thanks for this awesome article and all your awesome work!

    • Ramon Carroll

      Definitely. CSS Secrets really opened my eyes. I thought I knew CSS. Apparently, I’m just getting started, lol.

  • http://praveenpuglia.com Praveen Puglia

    Superhero for a reason! 🙂

  • http://doublslash.com Kushal Pandya

    Devotee of your CSS wizardry….. _/_

  • Florian Girardey

    You are special, no doubt on that. Not because you are a clever woman, because you are a clever human being 🙂

    This positive energy i feel in your global work made my day, thank you.

  • Jeremy Fine

    I’d like to add to this post. I call it, “My negative experience as a man in tech.”

    Being a man in tech means:

    – You are oppressing and excluding people merely for showing up at your job and trying to share your ideas.

    – You may never comment on, let alone question, a woman’s experience in your field, or try to share other women’s anecdotes second hand.

    – You may never refute or disprove a woman’s judgement of your own male experience, you must submit to projection and automatic offense.

    – You may never comment on observed gendered differences in communication styles or problem solving, in or outside the office.

    – You may never interrupt or correct a female co-worker because it denigrates the constant hardship of being a well-educated, well-paid white collar woman in the first world.

    Of course, that’s not really true. You can forego these rules. Just as long as you don’t mind being called a sexist who is holding back the entire industry with their oblivious privilege. But remember, the “women are wonderful” effect don’t real.

    • Commenter

      Stop being so white and male, you racist sexist!

      • Paul Dulaney

        “Stop being so white and male”

        Do you really want to use someone’s race and gender as a term of derision?

    • http://ansimionescu.com/ Andrei Simionescu

      Shockingly, people can be asshats regardless of sex/gender/color/shape/religion/etc. Sometimes the asshat minority in a group is way more vocal than the decent folk (think tumblrites, your example of “feminists”, etc.). I can’t call bullshit of what you’re saying based on my overwhelmingly positive experience, but I can’t subscribe to this trend of men victimizing themselves. Especially when there are actually important problems some men face, like rape (usually getting this reaction http://i.imgur.com/lsivzPZ.jpg ).

    • dr2chase

      We do suffer so much. I can hardly bear the oppression.

    • Sarah M

      For a second I was almost sympathetic, and then I came to my senses. This is hogwash.

      You can communicate disproval and criticise, you just need to do so a little more thoughtfully. Is that really so hard?

    • westSea

      “You may never interrupt”
      Wow, you interrupt people?

      “You may never comment”
      Or is it just the case that the comments you always seem to want to make are actually offensive. It’s like the white bigot that can’t talk about black people without casually resorting to the n-word. In those cases it’s not surprising those people feel like they can’t comment on anything without causing offense, and it’s because they are a bigot and their comments *are* actually offensive.

      “- You are oppressing and excluding people merely for showing up at your job and trying to share your ideas.”

      Happens more than you think. As a white guy, I notice sometimes when people are not feeling comfortable and not talking up as much as they should. It might be a tough race for us, but it’s more tough for some.

      “- You may never refute or disprove a woman’s judgement of your own male experience, you must submit to projection and automatic offense.”

      Again, I question if you are actually refuting or disproving anything, or more just confirming stereotypes and furthering the point that sexism is prevalent. For example, how exactly does a “woman’s judgement” differ from a “mans”? Also please keep in mind when answering that there are far more differences between any two individuals than there are total differences between the two sexes.

      • Guy

        > Or is it just the case that the comments you always seem to want to make are actually offensive.

        You literally just proved him righy by saying he is offensive because he is cautious about talking in front of others lest he be called offensive.

        • Ramon Carroll

          Um, no he didn’t. You may want to read it again.

          He is suggesting the possibility that his comments may actually, in reality, be unnecessarily rude and offensive, not commenting on whether it’s “offensive to talk in front of others”. Did we read the same comment?

    • :)

      Sounds like you’re having a hard time asserting yourself… maybe you’re just not cut out for this field. Why don’t you become a homemaker instead?

    • http://mpj.me Mattias Petter Johansson

      You really like to use the word “never”.

    • Henrik

      I never found trying to please everybody got you as far as most people seem to expect. If you are competent and shoot straight, you usually get respect. If you don’t it’s time to find a better place.

  • Lamecarlate

    It’s a beautiful text! It is important to highlight when we do not experiment problems (without erasing said problems 🙂 )!

    I just want to react to :

    “My gender only affected my internal motivation: I often felt I had to be good, otherwise I would be painting all female tech speakers in a negative light.”

    This is a by-product of sexism: if I success, it’s because I (personnally) am good, and I fail, I drag all my fellows (in this case, women) with me. It’s sad that we can think like that – I plea guilty for this myself – and have to be extra-cautionous because we’re women.

    One of my favorite xkcd strips illustrate this very well : https://xkcd.com/385/

  • Sunil Dandwate

    You are a great and Inspire lot’s of Web Developers. Keep it up.

  • http://ansimionescu.com/ Andrei Simionescu

    Wrt the last paragraph – Yes, the “m’lady” knights in shining armor are awkward and annoying, but even as a man that has to witness that shit I would take their obnoxiousness over the bro type any day (or rather I’d avoid them both).

  • Craig

    Thank you for this. I want to figure out a way that is super awesome, positive, nurturing and fun way to introduce my daughter to computers. I’m going to buy your book for sure, but do you have any tips on getting girls (somewhat young) to want to play with computers/games? My daughter could care less for minecraft or the like because all her cousins talk about are slaying dragons and going into a nether world. So she immediately assumes it’s a boy thing.

    • http://lea.verou.me/ Lea Verou

      Hi Craig,
      I got into programming at 11, when I found a visual IDE that enabled me to make apps without writing code (which was still scary at the time). I already liked making stuff (e.g. wallets and bags) so I was like “WOW, I can make things that are actually useful that way!!!”. And a year later, I wanted to learn how to code anyway, for flexibility. But everyone is different. Certainly though, it’s not always video games -> coding. For some people, it’s other things that draw them into coding. For me it was the creativity of making something useful out of nothing. You need to find what would do it for her, and trigger that. Hope this helps!

    • magpibird

      I concur – the video games I liked were ‘build a thing, solve a problem’ video games, and games are not something I’ve been drawn to since I’ve had adult power to build useful things and solve actual problems. I love the prettiness of web design, and before modern graphics, the logic loops of programming just didn’t bring enough to interest me. Publicizing building design on the web (and the subsequent building crash) got me into programming, and I’m gratified to discover many common thought patterns, from UX design to patterns, to modularity and theories of complexity. I liked digital and traditional arts, including fiber arts (weaving and knitting are extremely mathematical and modular – the first computers were for jacquard looms), and was also drawn to learn why and how beautiful built places came to be made. Watch and listen to your child’s age-appropriate play…if it’s Barbies, what is it about the dolls that she likes? Pretty clothes are a separate focus from social interaction…but each interest can find a larger place in tech, and contribute to a larger foundation than first implied.

    • http://shanfanhuang.com/ Shanfan Huang

      When I was a young girl, I was drawn to games that have beautiful/cute drawings, that have a peaceful and heartwarming story line, that focus on puzzles or nurturing something (like keeping a pet, schooling a kid… ) And that was nearly 20 years ago, when there were very few good games in that realm.

      Now it’s totally a different era. Many touchscreen games come out wonderfully designed. For example, Monument Valley is a very cute and engaging puzzle game that has a very touching storyline.
      http://www.monumentvalleygame.com/

      Machinarium is one of the classics in this kind of genre, on desktop.
      http://amanita-design.net/games/machinarium.html

      Other games like Threes (http://asherv.com/threes/) and Atomas (http://sirnic.com/atomas/) all features sweet visual design, logic, maths, geometry, and other types of problem solving rather than action or competition.

      I definitely play much more games now than when I was a little girl. This is an exiting time in history! I wish your daughter get exposed to award-winning games at early years, and acquire good taste in game design and computer matters!!

    • Jason Pelletier

      MIT has made a great intro to coding. It’s called Sketch. It has you moving blocks around that do different things and fit together like puzzle pieces. It is a lot of fun and very simple.

    • Henrik

      I got hooked when I was 12 straight on programming. It was mainly because I got a computer and a book that was written by a fiction writer about the adventure of coding. I wish I could find a copy somewhere, I guess I should contact the author. Most important book I ever got in my life.

      I didn’t care one bit about computer games for another 6 years, and then not that much. Inspiration comes in many forms

  • Andrey Mima

    Thank you for speaking this out, Lea. It takes courage to expose positive experiences in the era when distorted perception of gender inequality is such a powerful trend.

    I’m not saying, of course, that there is no such problem in the industry, there is. The same as there is sometimes bullying, narrow-mindedness, low moral standards, and all sorts of biases. But obviously, if you interact with smart people, you will mostly get positive experiences, since being unbiased is a vital part of being smart, and when you deal with not so bright people, you will face all sorts of problems anyway, sexism is only one of possible outcomes. Tech community mostly consist of great and smart people, who only give you great experiences, that’s why I so much appreciate being a part of this community and happy that people like you are on the top of it to inspire others.

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  • Josh

    Thank you for this post – I try to treat each woman equally, treating them as I would any other individual. I have to say I am guilty of what the man in your last paragraph did, and thank you for pointing it out. By and large there’s not too many situations where cursing is allowed, but I’ll do better at not singling out women that way.

    I hope I don’t get crucified for admitting my fault here; I only want to say thank you for making me aware of it so I can fix it.

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  • Paul Dulaney

    Thanks for swimming against the current. It took a certain bravery to post this.

    A principle I always kept in mind when I was raising my kids is: A person will work harder to continue deserving praise than he will to correct allegedly bad behavior.

    When environments are clearly sexist or racist or ageist, then yes, the only reasonable thing to do is to call people out. But there is, I think, a certain threshold of good behavior above which on-going criticism is a deterrent to improvement. It leads people to say, “Why bother? I’m going to be called a sexist/racist/ageist no matter what I do. These people are just whiny and unfair.” Much better to praise what good you see.

  • magpibird

    As a woman now in tech (and before this, in construction), I’ve had similar sorts of mixed-but-mostly-good experiences. Some things I have learned:

    Many times when I notice gender bias, it’s either my default setting, or some cultural thing that would be very difficult to change. The former: Keeping myself from assuming Wendy duty (especially when the guys have trouble with CSS, and it’s my favorite thing) The latter: I have never been in a group of women who sit around and practice verbally imitating someone/something. Yet this happens all. the. time, and is only funny for about 30s. But maybe that’s just me. 🙂

    Tone matters, and can make the difference. It matters no matter who you are, and who you’re addressing, and what you’re saying. Learning to modulate one’s response to a positive professional effect, no matter what first gut reaction is, is invaluable.

    It’s hard to argue with expertise well-presented. It’s also hard to argue with opportunities provided by networks, whether good-ol-boys-clubs, or ladies-who-lunch, or some mix of the two. Both of these are worth cultivating.

    How to make it easier for your daughter: Mentor your female colleagues, and talk about doing so outside of work. You will gain skills in encouragement, which you can also apply at home, and the general work experiences for female engineers will improve. I am eternally grateful to the colleagues who clearly think I am smart, that I can learn anything, that my contributions are worth listening to, and who know how to professionally argue with me so that our joint product is better.

  • Manolis Kamilakis

    great read thanks! some really good comments on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10753405

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  • Natalya

    Thanks for taking the time to write this. I started writing a reply, but it ran a bit long, so I ended up writing an entire article sharing my own positive experience instead. (medium.com/@tallys )

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  • natyca

    I wrote something similar earlier this year https://medium.com/@natyca/bytes-don-t-cry-bdbacf41ba91 I tend to avoid conversations about women in tech because it always seems like I’m dismissive or inconsiderate of other women’s experiences because my experiences have been all positive. It’s good to know I’m not delusional and there’s also good experiences, but only the bad ones are bubbling up.

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  • cashew

    I bet you are either an extrovert or very beautiful.

    • http://lea.verou.me/ Lea Verou

      I am an extrovert indeed, though with some introvert traits. Why?

      • Carl Patenaude Poulin

        I’m not in that person’s head, so I can’t know for sure. But here’s what I think he means:

        * It’s tough to be an introvert in Corporate America. Respect from your peers is largely earned by illustrating yourself in discussions, debates, conflicts, et cetera. To an extrovert, participating in discussion is just like dancing – it’s almost automatic, you’d probably do it for fun even if it didn’t bring you professional benefits. Introverts might find it difficult and stressful.

        * The world is harsh for ugly people, who often get treated like second-class citizen. As a junior in high school, I had jaw surgery done to correct a birth defect; the difference in how people treated me was night and day. I don’t think the business world is much different.

        It’s not clear how this ties into your post. Maybe “cashew” thinks this is a gendered problem? It could very well be.

    • http://perry.ch Maurice Perry

      She’s both actually

  • Steve

    I’m considered the CSS and JS guy where I work (I probably shouldn’t be, but I am) and thought that I was not too bad with CSS (beginner/intermediate, somewhere in the middle).

    I’m currently on “Scrolling Hints” in your book, and I can say that I have learned something new in each example before it. This is one of the best technical books I’ve read and ultimately I feel like a better developer because of it.

    Thanks

    • http://lea.verou.me/ Lea Verou

      Thanks, so glad you like it! Please consider leaving this as an Amazon review?

      • Steve

        I’ll think about it 😉

  • Alex

    Lea, the guy that apologized was probably being cautious, men have lost their jobs when women overheard things that they considered offensive, so yes, we must be careful and treat women differently just in case they decide that how you made them feel is more important than your career. And if you think that to be nice to a woman is sexist you are from now on not allowed to complain about “chivalry is dead”, ever. By the way I am extremely sexist, I open the doors and help women lift heavy things on the regular, also don’t swear in front of them like the misogynistic pig that I am.

    • http://lea.verou.me/ Lea Verou

      FWIW, I’ve never complained that chivalry is dead. And yes, you are sexist for treating women like fragile flowers. Your problem is that you’re actually proud of being sexist, while you only do these things because you’re taught that women expect them or mistakenly think they need them. The good thing is, your kind usually finds women that have internalized sexism enough to appreciate this bullshit, so you can live happily ever after. Just please be away from the rest of us. KTHXBAI.

      • Alex

        Thankfully the women that appreciate my bullshit are strong and
        confident enough not to feel discriminated by small gestures of care and
        they are a majority, although a silent one. And I promise to stay away from the rest of you, the first world equality warriors to whom an apology is the biggest oppression they felt.

        P.S. Love your book and use it all the time.

      • eyes_in_the_sky

        Hi Lea, I just wanted to say thanks a lot for making such a thoughtful contribution to a discussion that is so often acrimonious with your main post. Seriously, I really appreciate this. I hope you don’t mind if I present a contrasting perspective with what you are saying here.

        What frustrates me as a man is I feel I am caught in a double bind. Let’s take a situation like Adria Richards complaining because a guy made a dirty joke while sitting near her. On the face of it this seems like a request for special treatment because Adria is a woman. But I’m told that giving women special treatment because they are women is sexist. It feels like I’m sexist if I tell dirty jokes with women around, and sexist if I deliberately avoid telling dirty jokes with women around.

        Or take the term “mansplaining”. If I hear a woman say something I believe is incorrect, and I attempt to correct her, does that make me a sexist “mansplainer”? If I hear a woman say something I believe is incorrect, and I avoid correcting her because she’s a woman, does that make me sexist because I am treating women like fragile flowers?

        My perception is that there are some women, like you, who prefer to hear the dirty jokes and be corrected when they are wrong. And there are other women who don’t want to hear the dirty jokes and don’t want to be corrected. What I try to do is figure out what kind of person I’m dealing with on an individual basis and treat them appropriately. It becomes a thankless job when women assume that I have the ability to read their minds in order to determine their preferences in advance, and if I don’t correctly predict their preferences, condemn me as a sexist scumbag.

        So when I say someone like you say “Men who treat women as fragile flowers are sexist”, I mentally substitute in “I prefer it if men don’t treat me as a fragile flower” and go on with my day. Stuff about women being oppressed and sexism and all that jazz adds nothing but acrimony in my view.

        Anyway, keep fighting the good fight. Here’s to hoping that thoughtful posts like yours can rise above the noise of people trying to be as controversial & divisive as possible in order to attract attention.

        • http://lea.verou.me/ Lea Verou

          Regarding mansplaining, I think you have misunderstood the concept. It’s not mansplaining when a man explains something to a woman in general. It’s mansplaining when a man explains something that he wouldn’t have explained had the other person been a man, because he would just assume knowledge. For example, when I was talking with another programmer and he went on to explain what SSH was, even though he knew I’m a programmer too, and without any sign of confusion from my side. That was mansplaining. The reason there’s a separate word for it is because it happens so bloody often. I manage to avoid it in most cases by establishing competence early on in a conversation, but it gets exhausting to have to prove yourself over and over again when a man is just assumed to be knowledgeable unless proven otherwise.

  • http://mazzzz.com Mazzen

    You’re honestly so cool.

    I’m a 15-year-old kid who’s getting way into web design. I’ve been a fan of your work since I came across those pure CSS backgrounds you did. After becoming a bit more advanced, I began importing ‘Prefix-Free’ into every page I make, as well as religiously using Prism. I’m planning on buying your book on Amazon as soon as I get paid.

    I never really thought about what it’s been like for you as a woman in the programming field until I saw this post on your blog today. While reading your post, I realized more, and more how impressive everything you’ve done is. As a guy, I guess I’ve just kind of seen past the politics of programming. It’s not like I’m working for a company or anything like that anyway, so I’ve never seen the dynamic between co-workers in the dev/design field.

    I was raised by a single mom up until just a few years ago, and I’ve never thought of women as a inferior sex or anything stupid like that. My mom works two jobs as an English professor and a textbook-writer, and she’s just always been my hero. Men generally bashing or discrediting women’s capability disgusts me.

    To get to the point, I just want to say that you’re a role-model to me. You’re a great writer, and an awesome developer. I love that you’d take the time to make a post about your experience as a woman-developer. Sorry for the kind of pointless comment, but keep up the great work, and thank you for everything you’ve done! 🙂

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  • http://shanfanhuang.com/ Shanfan Huang

    I couldn’t agree more – We need to address the positive experience!! Some of gender discussions might make girls feel even more insecure, and coming out as overly aggressive for no good reason.

    I used to walk in an office of all-male developers fully armed with my “lean in” attitude… but in the end I realized that was only my own insecurity. I would say majority of my male colleagues are sensible, well-meaning and respectful people. I did hear some inappropriate comments, but like you said, I think it’s because that person is a douchebag, not because I’m a woman.

    Nowadays most of my frustration came from the lack of women to hire. I just wish to see more women in the office. The few women who ended up in tech, from my own experience, usually has certain type of personality: assertive, ready to give it her all, not easily offended or embarrassed. And these are not the kind of quality majority of women possess.

    “Not easily offended or embarrassed” is really my number one enlightenment. I think it’s the major gender difference that created this whole inequality situation. Guys grew up trash-talking each other in sports teams. They knew if they failed at an exam it was definitely not because they weren’t smart, just that they didn’t study. They rarely blame themselves. But girls grew up with too much self-awareness. Girls, including myself, easily blamed everything on ourselves. If we fail at the first few try, we’re like “I don’t have that talent.””I’m just not good with _______.” And we stop trying, and we lose the opportunity to improve.

    It took me many years to realize that level of sensitivity has blocked my growth. I taught myself to be dismissive about embarrassment. It’s not about the failures, it’s always about the improvement you can make next time.

    If I could tell the 15-year old self, I would say, stop doubting about yourself! It was just an exam (a volleyball game, a wrong answer in front of the class, a whatsoever… )! All that time you had to cry, to doubt, to feel defeated – would have been better used to practice and improve your skills.

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  • Andreas Kalpakides

    You get em girl!

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  • http://lancenewman.me Lance Newman

    Feminism: A solution desperately searching for a problem.

    • http://lea.verou.me/ Lea Verou

      Imagine me saying that efforts against racism are “a solution desperately looking for a problem”. That would make me a huge fucking bigot, wouldn’t it? Well, feel free to make any inferences.
      If the discrimination doesn’t apply to you, it’s hard to notice it, especially when most of it is subconscious bias. So, sometimes you need to learn to shut the fuck up and listen.
      Note that I never said ANYTHING against feminism. Sexism exists in the world, A LOT, and affects almost every part of our lives. Feminism is needed, BADLY. I only said that in my experience, the tech industry (and academia) are way better than average when it comes to sexism. Outside those very specific bubbles, I see sexism EVERY FUCKING DAY. So, gtfo, please and don’t you dare use my piece to support your misogynistic bullshit.

      • http://lancenewman.me Lance Newman

        Isn’t it an act of moral vanity to say that anyone who doesn’t share your opinions on feminism is simply a misogynist or a bigot? I used to think of you as one who truly valued civilized discourse. But, it’s evident from your response that you’d much rather just throw around ad hominem attacks in what appears to be a pretty desperate attempt on your part to avoid having to engage in any real discussion. It’s also evident from your response that despite all of your rhetoric espousing liberal values, you only tolerate speech that you approve of.

        In your response, you charged me with being a bigot and hating women. Typically, when one makes a claim, they have some sort of evidence to substantiate that claim. So, could you please provide me with some evidence of my alleged bigotry and misogyny?

        If not, then go right ahead and continue to ghost hunt and employ the standard tactic that’s used by most leftists when they’re caught between a rock and a hard place and just scream “You’re a racist, a bigot and a homophobe!!!” Anyone who has ever had the tremendous displeasure of debating a liberal knows exactly what I’m taking about. Your response was nothing more than a character assassination masquerading as social justice in an attempt to silence your opponent through intimidation.

        • DanOwen

          Lance Newman, intolerance desperately seeking to be a solution, when in fact he is a problem.

      • http://lancenewman.me Lance Newman

        Lea, I know it’s been a while, but did you ever manage to find some evidence to support your outrageous claims?

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    Lea, I follow you since your talk about JavaScript’s regular expressions in Fluent 2012 and I am happy to hear that your talks always get excellent reviews! Keep up with good work! 🙂

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    As a father who would hope to see one of his daughters enter the same industry as ‘dad’, this is pretty awesome to hear. From the stories I hear, I have always gotten the vibe that the tech industry is a really rough place for females, especially in the game industry (and maybe it really is, especially for some). Perhaps your story could provide a glimmer of hope for others. Thank you, Lea.

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    So time to rant about jerks instead 🙂

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