A few weeks ago, my coworker and I were out for breakfast with a large group of friends. Curious, one of our friends asked us how we got into the world of IT.
My coworker said, “I was more or less born into it. My father owned a tech company.” Everyone smiled and nodded. Of course he had followed in his father’s footsteps. Even if he had changed his career path and entered the land of IT in healthcare, he had grown up in the tech world.
“How about you?” asked my friend, looking at me.
I thought back to the grade eight computer club and my interest in learning early programming. I grimaced at the memory of the boy a grade ahead of me who led a shouting campaign, letting me know I should find other places to spend my lunches.
I remembered the grade ten teacher who suggested I’d probably benefit from typing class, but when I enrolled, I found none of my male classmates had been given similar advice.
I considered all the men who had been hired after me who had achieved easy promotions at work and who now passed me in their pay grade, in spite of the fact that I had been the one to train them when they were new hires.
I reflected back to the year before when a colleague on the Provincial Executive had leaned across me to ask the man next to me, someone employed as a store attendant, to help him get onto the wifi.
I paused over all the micro aggressions, macro aggressions, and outright attempts to let me know that the world of computer technology was a world of men. Responding to my friend, but looking my colleague in the eye, I said, “I was hired because I was qualified.”
In honour of all the women who work in the tech industry and who have stayed, I designed a tshirt today. It’s here in my Etsy shop.