"I Sometimes Feel Like A Mom" : What It's Like To Be A Woman In The Tech Industry

Every woman we asked said they love their colleagues. But that's not to say they don't see some differences between themselves and the guys.

Tina Huang

// Tina Huang, 29

Software Engineer, Twitter
"Anyone who majored in computer science in college and spent any time at all in the industry is probably not intimidated by superficial aspects of the engineering culture, like hackathons full of Red Bull guzzling and no showering. College would have weeded out any women who cared."

Maureen Heymans

//Maureen Heymans, 33

Senior Staff Software Engineer, Google
"On my team of 20 people, there are only two other women. But I don't feel more of a connection to them than the men on the team. Although female engineers tend to have slightly better interpersonal skills on average. They perceive the existence of conflicts that men might not notice. When there is disagreement on my team, for example, I sometimes feel like a mom trying to settle a dispute between siblings."

Mari Sheibley

// Mari Sheibley, 29

Lead Designer, Foursquare
"I contribute to the culture in ways that fit with my personality and my skill set, not my gender. I did help start Tie Tuesday, where everyone wears a tie on Tuesday--not because I wanted to fit in with the boys, but because I've always had a thing for neckties. I can't tell you why exactly, but I can tie a mean full Windsor knot."

.

Siobhan Quinn

// Siobhan Quinn, 31

Product Manager, Foursquare
"A lot of guys have been dorking out since junior high, when their parents bought them computers to muck with. As a woman interested in computer science, you can be a little insecure about where you stand in relation to a lot of the guys. You feel like everyone's been coding forever, and I think that insecurity stays with you. There's a notion where you feel like you got really lucky and made it into the club."

Rose Yao

//Rose Yao, 28

Product Manager, Facebook's Mobile Group
"I have some great girlfriends from Facebook, and we definitely go out for dinner and for mani-pedis and dancing. We've had some interesting discussions about what to wear at work. My conclusion is that you should wear what makes you feel like yourself. The engineers joke that I occasionally put on fashion shows, because sometimes I'll actually wear a bunch of new clothes."

Illustrations by Scott Menchin

Related:
Female Geeks Flex Their Skills At Ladies-Only Hackathon

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • Charlene Coleman

    I don't think in terms of male or female. Technology has no sex, so why should it matter? The work is the same, so interactions with men should be the same as interactions with women. If it is not, then someone needs to be corrected.