The “martyr” complex of women in IT

Been meaning to write something on this for a while, but it keeps slipping my mind. I’ve been at Tech.Ed 2012 on the Gold Coast this week and it’s brought this topic right to the forefront of my mind, especially after speaking with many fabulous, fantastic, inspirational women!

One of the questions that often gets asked by other people, not just women but also by men, is “Don’t you find it hard being a woman in IT?”

No. I don’t. I *love* being a woman in IT. And here’s why – the positives far FAR outweigh any negatives I’ve ever experienced. Sure, I’ve had some sexism in my time, sure I’ve had people say “No, I don’t want to deal with you, I want to deal with one of the guys”. My response? Fine. If you feel like that, I don’t want to deal with *you* anyway.

I’ve found that being a female opens up doors in IT – people are amazed that you do IT, hiring managers pay attention to your resume, other IT people (men, mostly) notice you! You do get treated special in some situations, and while I’m all for equality, I kind of like being that “special snowflake” that’s a little different from the rest.

I’m now in a team of 10 people. Three of us are women. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s enjoyable and having other women around to share my experiences with is awesome! We do have a different perspective on some things, we can see things differently and we do have different problems (in some regards).

An example is a colleague of mine who’s on maternity leave – having children is something a lot of women (not all) want to do. It means we have to put our careers on hold for a brief (or sometimes not so brief) period of time while we devote ourselves to another human being. This can also mean that we’re putting our own skills on hold…which, in the fast paced world of IT, can be a bad thing because you’re not as up to date on all the new “fandangled” technology that’s up-and-coming. I’m hoping that if the time comes for me to start a family, I can still balance being a professional with being a mother – that I can still keep my skills and knowledge up to date, even while not being in the “thick of it”.

I get very irritated when I hear other women say that it’s hard being a woman in IT. Listening to Carol Wapshere talk at the WiT lunch here at Tech.Ed 2012 was inspirational. When asked what she felt of the glass ceiling in IT she answered honestly: “What glass ceiling?”. If you’re good at what you do, if you’re confident in your abilities and in yourself, you will always have a job. Your skills will always be valued and wanted. It goes for any industry.

I’m a woman in IT. I love being a woman in IT. And I don’t think that being a woman in IT in *any* way disadvantages me, if anything, it helps. If you’re a woman in IT and you feel you’re hard-done by – seriously, princess, HTFU.

One thought on “The “martyr” complex of women in IT

  1. Carol Wapshere

    I must say I’ve never come across a woman in IT who thought she was disadvantaged by being a woman – but then I don’t even need all my fingers to count them, so they’re a select group. You’re right that it is nice to be special – I think once it annoyed me but now I enjoy the double-take when people realise what I do.

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