Today is 8th March 2023 and it is International Women’s Day. I’ll keep it short. There have been times in my life when I’ve had my share of wondering if I belong in the spaces that I am in because I’m a woman. Things like:
- Being told at a young age that video games aren’t for girls
- Being the only girl in my computer science class for GCSE and being terrified of ever being called on in case I was ‘the girl who got it wrong’
- Stressing over failed code and wondering if anyone else was feeling so ’emotional’ about it
- Walking into my universities video game society to only find one or two other girls there.
- Wanting to partake in the online conversation of tech and the web but always feel like you’ll say the wrong thing or no one will take you seriously so you never post
But there has also been plenty of times in my life when I’ve felt encouraged and inspired because of the people I chose to surround myself with. People like:
- LDShadowLady, Hannah and Kim from Yogscast, and all the old-school Gaming YouTubers – I found these creators when I was around 11 years old and saw that it was okay to play video games (This bear loved and still loves Minecraft). That space became an escape for me, and being there allowed me to venture down more ‘techy’ routes.
- Watching the Big Bang Theory growing up – Seeing the women in STEM like Bernadette, Lesley and Amy was super cool. I learned that women can be in the science and technology sphere whilst also loving sparkly tiaras. Also that Mayim Balik who plays Amy is a neuroscientist in real life!
- When a woman came to our university and gave a talk on UX – I learned about the awesome field of UX design and research, and the reason I found the career path I did (I really wish I remembered her name, but it felt like a lifetime ago!). I also found a great company called Ladies that UX which encourages women all over the globe in the UX Industry.
- At university being adopted by a group of girls on the first day – There was a pizza party after the first lecture and I knew no one (I moved to a uni 100 miles away from my hometown). These girls came and found me sat on my tod and said ‘Hey, we’re on the computer science degree, want to come chill with us’. Having that sense of belonging really helped me through university.
- Working with really cool people – From clients to co-workers to collaborations, I get to work with some of the most amazing people, who whether they are female or not, support and uplift each other and just want to do more good in the world.
Now I’m a bit older, I have seen the shift between when I was 13 compared to now and how far we’ve come in those 10 years in the tech industry. There’s a lot of doom-scrolling to do on these types of days as we see how much we still have to do to achieve gender equality and/or equity in the world and also reminded of all the other social issues going on. Here’s your reminder to take a breath, acknowledge the bad, but celebrate the good.
I hope you all have a great International Women’s Day.