I am a huge football fan, oh yes I love love love it, I go to games, I don’t just follow my team I watch matches wherever I can and even not just the Premier League I watch the Championships as well (I all honesty though this I due to having a Brighton fan as a boyfriend but I do still enjot it), I can’t miss match of the day and this summers world cup has been a total joy.
But why am I telling you this?
Well as a female football fan whenever I speak to male football fans and get involved in either a conversation or debate, I have to not just be as on the ball about the football topic being discussed or debated but in fact I have to also justify my knowledge, my interest and prove (usually through a Q&A Session) how much of a fan I am. This is most cases when I speak with male football supporters is the only way to gain any kind of respect fot what I am contributing, then when they find out I am a Manchester United fan I have to start all over again.
But what has this got to do with IT?
Recently I attended one of the great Manchester Girl Geeks Barcamp events and got talking to a number of the brilliant ladies and gents who attended. One of the key points that came from a lot of conversations I had on the day was the fact that as women in technology they feel that to be respected or taken seriously they are constantly having to demonstrate their ability and knowledge to almost “prove” their skills as opposed to being accepted as just being a “techie” and they almost have to conform to a certain “stereotype” to be taken seriously.
There has been a lot of promotion across the world (and rightly so) to encourage girls/woman in technology, but is this being targeted at the stereotypical idea of a girl/woman who works in technology. Again talking to girls/woman (I never know which is best from the PC point of view) in my day to day job and at events that I attend the perception is that to “fit” in to the tech world you have to be a certain “type” because that’s what’s accepted and what’s understood. The fact that you may like all the other girly stuff as WELL as tech doesn’t seem to comprehend. Now I know this is a generalisation and there are a lot of people in the tech community who don’t see things this way, and also from a boys/man/male perspective there is still a lot of preconception about the “techie” stereotype. But come on people can’t us girls like the stuff we like (in my case Dr Who, Sci Fi, shoes and Lancôme) and still be passionate about football, tech, motor cars or whatever without having to fit a stereotype or prove our commitment?
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