Working in tech is wonderful. We can build whatever we dream of, we always have countless new things to learn and explore, and we can passionately share what we know with everyone, anywhere. It is a dream come true and everyone deserves to have an opportunity to be a part of it. Everyone.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some people are convinced that tech-related jobs are only for men, or even worse – only for white men. I wish it was just a handful of individuals, but that does not align with how often I hear stories about this on social media and from my friends. No, the problem is very serious and is not improving. We are making everything in tech more open, but there is only little progress in inclusivity.
This is not only about the people who are publicly dismissive of equality and are even “proud” of it. There are many who swear they support equality, but their actions don’t align with it. We often hear “I’m all for equality, but…” – however, equality is equality, so there is no space for “buts”. Finally, the biggest group of people are those who are aware of inequality in tech but stay silent, even in moment where their voice would matter.
The best way to realize it for yourself is to imagine it for yourself:
- What if you knew that the success of that upcoming tech interview you are trying to pass depends more on your looks than on your skills?
- What if the first thing you hear in a meeting is a greeting “Hey guys”, which explicitly excludes you?
- What if you were a part of a team but your ideas and opinions were automatically dismissed, even though they are valuable and relevant?
I think it is clear, that we must change. And where to start? Ideally – with yourself. Become an ally. Read up on the topic from various sources and then start applying it to your work environment. When you notice non-inclusive behavior, do not be afraid to point it out and try to persuade others to become more open-minded. Share encouraging stories to motivate those who feel down. Support non-profits promoting tech for everyone, for example Girls who Code. You can also become a mentor and provide constructive feedback to help others navigate. But most important of all – listen. Even though it may not sound as much, being acknowledged has a profound impact.
If we want to make the future of technology bright and limitless, it must be inclusive. We must be friendly and welcoming to everyone, we must value their skills and opinions.
Let me end with with a meme that says it all:
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