Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hey, Men! Let's Be Awesome.

There's been much talk about the role and treatment of women in the tech industry lately.

Let's step away from the cesspit of online debate and focus on some positive things we can do. There is a time and place for pointing out what others have done wrong. Since the rest of the Internet has that covered already, let's focus on awesome things we can do.

As men, let's:

  • Recognize that we have a position of privilege and power in the overwhelmingly male technology industry. "Privilege" doesn't mean you haven't worked hard and earned your achievements. I believe you when you say you've worked your butt off.
  • Recognize that, particularly if you're a white male, you may have never experienced what it's like to be in the minority. Let's not tell women or anybody else how they should feel about it. This does not mean you are bad because you are a white male! I'm a white male; I think I'm pretty alright.
  • Realize that a lot of women don't appreciate sexual jokes and conversation from men they don't know. Some enjoy it, some don't care, and many dislike it. They may even find it threatening. Even if you think this is dumb (it's not) then simply accept that a lot of women feel that way. We would not want our mothers, sisters or wives subjected to unwanted sexual conversations from strangers.
  • Realize we can still make jokes about boobs and penises. Nobody is taking that away from us. Let's save it for our friends (of any gender) who enjoy those kinds of jokes.
  • Realize that engineering is the art of creative problem-solving, and we benefit from others' perspectives. Solving problems involves understanding them. Often, this means understanding people. We need more perspectives, not less.
  • Realize that accepting women into our industry means accepting women. Not just accepting women as long as they "think like men."

This industry is important; I really believe in it. If you're reading this, I think you believe in it. We really hurt this industry when we exclude bright minds and new perspectives from our field.

So, let's be awesome.

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