Reading the blog posts of women within the tech community, both Laura and Mariam express discontent with the lack of teaching in the tech world. Mariam describes the process of learning coding and CS as ‘exhorting us to code’. She cites three specific reasons why women have refrained from coding: lack of exposure to technology at a young age, inappropriate jokes and gamer/ tech culture, and an industry dominated by men that makes women ultra-conscious of the mistakes that they make. Laura cites several other barriers: work, household chores and responsibilities, and women’s social environment. Laura and Mariam suggest that the combination of these factors contributes to the lack of energy, interest, and desire for women, as well as minorities, to learn to code. Tanya Clement, self-described woman and mother, explains the task of blogging and tweeting. Developing a women’s support group for women coders and women in DH is low on the priority list for this woman. Tanya describes her hesitation to network with other female scholars in DH in her free time as a psychological battle between the embarrassment of having to learn ‘on her own’ and trying to mask this frustration in social settings.
The message that these women have provided is that learning to code and participate in the digital humanities is an independent effort, an effort that requires persistence and hard work. Women seem to be falling behind their male comrades due to the extenuating circumstances of being mothers and wives. The frustration and agitation expressed by the women in the blog posts suggests that they feel that the men who dominate the industry have not provided an engaging and adaptable learning environment for women. These men are fully aware of the limitations that women face, limitations set by the sacrifices women make for them on a daily basis.
In reflection of these blog posts and this topic in general, I feel that the frustrations mounted by these women are justified and cogent. I myself have worked in a male-dominated engineering/ technology industry and can only imagine how difficult it is for women to feel isolated. Given the advances in gender equality in education in our society, it is surprising that women still have to face gender description in these industry. The most likely explanation for this is that men are safe-guarding jobs in a highly competitive and lucrative industry. In our society, we equate money with power. Men with patriarchal world views, educated or uneducated, geek or not geek, will continue to use their influence to enliven their perspective.
The true obstacle for women in these fields, especially women attempting to unite motherhood and career, is the lack of support and pressure on men within the industry to adhere to the changing workplace. These women’s blogs are the stepping stones to building female associations and networks within the industry. I would like to congratulate them for having the courage to openly express them.