The Intersection of Feminism and Tech

The Intersection of Feminism and Technology: A New Perspective

Today, I want to share my thoughts on a topic that’s close to my heart: the intersection of feminism and technology. As a woman in tech, I’ve often found myself reflecting on how these two areas intersect and influence each other.

Feminism and Technology: A Historical Perspective

Historically, technology has been a male-dominated field. But that’s not because women aren’t interested or capable. Far from it.

Women have been instrumental in the development of many technologies we take for granted today. For instance, did you know that the first computer programmer was a woman named Ada Lovelace? Or that a team of women mathematicians, known as “human computers,” played a crucial role in the early days of NASA?

Despite these contributions, women have often been sidelined in the tech industry. This is where feminism comes in.

Feminism, at its core, is about advocating for equality between the sexes. It’s not just about women empowerment, but its about challenging the status quo and breaking down barriers to allow for equality for all.

And there are plenty of barriers to break down in the tech industry.

My Personal Journey

I’ve experienced some of these barriers firsthand. The majority of my undergraduate carrer consisted of myself being the only woman in the room. There was actually more than one occasion that I was singled out and asked by the (male) professor if I was in the right place!

Even starting in high school, when I was applying to colleges, when I told my guidance counselor that I wanted to major in Computer Science, her knee-jerk reaction was to say, “Oh, well you know that’s really difficult and mostly men work in that field”.

I didn’t know it then, but that wasn’t going to be the first time that I was going to be immediately categorized based on my gender. I felt like I had to prove myself twice as much as my male counterparts, even when my male counterparts didn’t make me feel “lesser” than them.

And, I still sometimes think this way. It’s an unconscious bias that I’ve now given myself based on how frequently I’ve experienced the bias from others.

But, I found support and camaraderie in women’s coding groups and online communities where I realized that there’s more people like me. Even just bonding with coworkers and other women in the tech industry (not only software engnieers) has made a big difference in giving me the confidence to continue pursuing my passion for technology.

The Power of Representation

One of the key ways that feminism intersects with technology is through representation. When we see women succeeding in tech, it sends a powerful message: we belong here, too. We need more women in tech, not just as coders, but as leaders, decision-makers, and role models.

For me, it wasn’t until my final semester of undergrad that I acutally had a female professor for one of my computer science courses, and I didn’t realize it until then how big of an impact that had on me.

The class was still tough, it was still work, but I didn’t have a feeling of being an outlier nearly as much as I had in other courses. And, to see another woman teaching a course with decades of experience behind her was inspiring all on its own.

The Future is Intersectional

But it’s not enough to just have more women in tech. We need to ensure that the tech industry is inclusive and welcoming to all women, including women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities.

This is where the concept of intersectional feminism comes in. Intersectional feminism recognizes that women’s experiences are shaped by other aspects of their identity, such as race, sexual orientation, and disability.

In the tech industry, this means creating inclusive hiring practices, fostering diverse work environments, and designing technologies that meet the needs of all users, not just a privileged few.

Final Thoughts

The intersection of feminism and technology offers a new perspective on how we can shape the future of the tech industry. It’s about recognizing the contributions of women in tech, challenging gender stereotypes, and creating a more inclusive and equitable industry.

As a woman in tech, I believe that we have the power to change the industry for the better. And I’m excited to be part of that change. I hope you are, too.