13 years in Tech as a woman: Part 2

Hey my friend! As you know, I am currently sharing my thoughts, observations, and experience as a woman who chose to have career in the Tech industry. Here’s part two.


My favorite thing to say whenever I am asked about how to encourage more women to go into Tech is “Don’t be a woman in tech. Be a woman, and be in tech”.

Yes perhaps in certain environment we need to work extra hard to be taken as seriously as our male counterparts, but don’t be overly bitter about it. Use that as a motivation to be as competent as possible.

You don’t need to be “one of the guys” to succeed in tech. Being a woman is not a bug but a feature. Own your features. Own your unique PoV, they are valuable.

This applies to the men as well. Everyone has a unique perspective, strengths, and weaknesses. Do you. Your viewpoints, the way you see the world, the way you interact with the world.

So yes to summarise:
– Why you should go into Tech: you are inspired by what technology could do, the impact it can have on the world, and you wanted to be part of that change.
– Why you should not go into Tech: to be a woman in Tech.

Be the first or fourth type. We live in this abundant era where it’s so easy to be remarkable and make an impact.

It’s the norm

In the US in the 1940s, software was a women’s job. Men deals with hardware, women deals with software. In 1984 number of women graduating with CS degree / STEM was at all time high (37%?). The number shrank to only 20% in 2006.

This is what I found after I decided to better educate myself about the history of technology and the role of women in it. I knew about Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, but never dug deeper.

When you see how these norms and prevalent view in society came to be, by understanding history, you realise how relative “normal” is, how malleable culture is, and how powerful we all are.

Yes it’s not easy to rewire these instincts. There is an inherent bias in our systems no matter how woke the individual and properly set the incentives are. So even if you consider yourself a feminist and proponent of social justice, you are still absorbing, internalising some of those invisible biases.

Be selective about what narrative you buy into and how they came to be. The box is not always as it is.

// Contoh di luar lebih banyak lagi. Beberapa CTO, VP engineering di Google, FB, startup sendiri, julia evans, lara hogan, yoky matsuoka. Bahkan 4 dari 6 C level di Scrapinghub ini wanita.


Be cautious about viewing the world through the lens of inequality. Attributing and correlating too many things to gender aspect could be counterproductive. I don’t think we should pamper and baby women. Mentoring programmes for underprivileged women should be encouraged but a women-only React community is going overboard, IMO.

There’s a danger in being too conscious about this idea of diversity. If we keep reinforcing that narrative that “there is not enough women in tech”, that “tech is not friendly”, “tech is a men’s world”, if we stay in that scarcity mindset — quota of “seats for women”, what we’re doing is really sustaining, perpetuating, the systemic failure. We are not fixing the root issue but only addressing the symptoms.

Be aware of the stereotypes, be thoughtful about diversity and equality, but take it as data — a neutral guide.

Don’t worry too much about political correctness and start being human with each other. We all want to be seen as we are, we want to be respected, acknowledged, appreciated, to contribute, and make impact.

About this series

Being in Tech, and being a woman, I’ve been asked a lot to share about my experience… as woman in Tech.

I have to admit it is a slight nuisance because I consider my gender to be the least interesting aspect of my career. I then realised I haven’t spent much deliberate time thinking about it. Which means that I haven’t done my best to use my voice and power to make positive impact in this direction.

So, I decided to share my current thoughts, observations, and experience as a woman who chose to have career in the Tech industry.

I decided to split it into a couple of posts so it’s more easily digestible. Trying to chew slower and savour more things in life!

Part 1

  1. Context
  2. Why I got into Tech
  3. A lens

Part 2 (you are here)

  1. Mindset
  2. It’s the norm
  3. Caution

Part 3

  1. So what do I need to do?
  2. Why do we self sabotage?
  3. Ask and you’ll get (?)

Part 4

  1. I have a dream
  2. May the fourth be with us. Resources, inspiring folks and communities

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