It’s International Women’s Day. I wrote about this topic last year and looking back, I think what I said stays true. I was worried when I wrote it that I was being too positive and glossing over some of the problems that still exist. But that’s who I am – someone who always takes the optimistic point of view. (Cue Monty Python…)
But this has been an interesting year. From the “Google Manifesto” to the “#MeToo” and “Times Up” movements, it’s become pretty clear that the treatment of women is still an issue – and a complex, multi-faceted one at that. We’ve known about all of this for a very long time – it’s everywhere in our culture. So many people cover this subject much better than I can that I’m not sure what I have to add that would bring anything new to the table. But what is clear to me is that the current moment is to make sure that this kind of behavior is no longer tolerated or rewarded. This is a conversation that we all need to have and we all are having.
As for our SQL Server community, I appreciate that we have made this a focus and are always trying to improve. Many SQL Saturday organizers actively try to make sure they have more women speakers submit. I know there are user group leaders who also work to recruit a diverse list of speakers. Sometimes these efforts are successful and sometimes they aren’t. Discussing why they succeed or fail and continually trying to improve from there are worthwhile conversations. As long as that’s in the forefront and we continue to have these discussions, we can get better.
This is also a call for those of us in whatever category that will help represent and promote our diverse community to get involved. Our community wants to hear what we have to say and they want us to succeed. We need to seize the opportunity.
Despite all of this, there are still too many stories about sexism that other women experience or openly sexist attitudes about women in tech. I’ve heard two more stories about this in the past week. It feels like we still have a long way to go.
I recently spoke with a woman who is starting her career in data. She asked me if I had any advice for being a Women in Technology. One day I will be able to remember my exact words right after they come out of my mouth but I am pretty sure what I said was something like this: There are always going to be jerks in any field we work in. The key is to not let the jerks get in your way.
Yep – that’s my “brilliant” advice: Don’t let the jerks get in your way.
Sure, it may be overly simplified and easier said than done. But as I said, I’m an optimist.