Welcome back to SQL University. It is now March, which is Women’s History Month, which means we get things started with the topic of Women in Technology.
I know what you are thinking: “Tom, you are not a woman, how could you write about such a topic?” I have no idea, but I am going to try. If for no other reason because I want my daughter to read this post, years from now, and understand more about all the people that walked before her.
Did you even know that there was an organization dedicated to the advancement “…of women in technology from the classroom to the boardroom by providing advocacy, leadership development, networking, mentoring and technology education.” No? Well, neither did I. I had no idea about them until I first heard about the WIT luncheon happening at a PASS Summit many years ago. When I heard about the lunch my first thought was “Are men allowed?” (The answer is yes.) My second question was “Do they serve better food?” (The answer is no.)
The first lunch I attended had a good turnout. The last one I attended was SRO. If you haven’t been to one, you should go. It is not a bunch of women sitting on stage bashing men. It is a group of women that come together to have an open discussion about the obstacles they see in their careers, and it gives everyone a chance to help.
First thing you need to do is to attend an event. If it is the luncheon at the PASS Summit, that is great. But it could also just be a panel discussion at a local SQL Saturday. The point is to find an event and to participate in the discussion. Yes, even if you are a man.
OK, you know that WIT exists, and you have attended some functions and participated in discussions. Now you need to start learning about the many women in technology that came before you (or anyone else). Crack open your history book and read up on women such as Ada Lovelace (helped program for Charles Babbage), or Grace Hopper (WWII veteran who help transform how computers are programmed), or Sophia Germain (whose work helped lay the groundwork for modern construction, starting with the La Tour Eiffel.)
The list of women in technology is too long for me to include in a blog post. The important thing to note here is that there are a LOT more women involved in the history of technology than you have ever realized. Get to know a few of them. Who knows, you could find yourself working with the next Ada Lovelace someday!
OK, you know the events, you know your history, now you need to put it together and start encouraging others. Have a daughter or niece? Hand her one of your old laptops and point her to Scratch, or to learn about Rails. Make certain they know that ANY field they want to pursue is one at which they can excel.
If you want more information on Women in Technology and how you can get involved, here are the resources you should follow:
- Wendy Pastrick (blog | @wendy_dance)
- Denise McInerney (no blog? | @denisemc06)
- Erin Stellato (blog | @erinstellato)
- Jes Borland (blog | @grrl_geek)
- Meredith Ryan Smith (blog | @coffegrl)