I reacted in anger when a male colleague mentioned that female weren’t technical enough to dominate in an IT environment.
Before you stone the sexist, I should give some background info…
I mentioned that IT would be more efficient if females were working in the department. I was playing the gender card which suggested that females are better at multitasking than men. Which isn’t a rule set in stone and definitely does not apply to all men, but generally female are better at (a) multitasking and (b) prioritizing tasks.
My colleague replied saying female aren’t technical enough to succeed. Now I know I kind of over-reacted, but why?
Is it because it was too close to home?
I realized as a teenager / young adult I didn’t feel confident working on computers. I went to the UK after school knowing the basics of computers but very little about emails and the web. If I’m very honest, I was not interested in technology. My head was in the stars, tapping to the sounds of Andrew Lloyd Webber. My brother on the other hand, not only had the aptitude for technology, he has always been interested. His little bit of interest versus my complete avoidance meant that my parents never invested the time or effort to upskill me in this particular area. Having said that and just for clarity’s sake. I wasn’t seen as just a pretty face. I was strong in math and accounting. Just not so much in science and technology.
Often as parents, we label our kids with good intentions – without meaning to. And I cannot criticize my parents because I turned out to be a (mostly) well-adjusted adult.
The point I am trying to make is that we still have the same mentality roaming around in our offices today – again not all over, but decades of mentality has infiltrated the way we think. And we need to guard against it. I want to stand against! If not for myself, because the comment wasn’t aimed at me, for the daughters of our generation. I’m not sexist. I stand and honour the women of our generation that have been 10 times stronger and more capable than their male counterparts. And I vow to not only invest in myself to become better equipped, but I also vow to invest in the future of young women entering the workforce now. Screw that, I’ll even be teaching my boys how to multitask!