What women “should”/”should not” do
While I am sure there are many misnomers and stereotypes in our culture about what women “should” and “should not” do, I have simply chosen to ignore them. To be honest, I have never believed I was incapable of doing anything I wanted simply because I was a woman. Perhaps that comes as a byproduct of being raised by a feminist child of the 60s, or perhaps it comes as a result of being a child of the 80s and 90s, when women were taught that we could do anything we pleased. I am not sure why or how I came to believe that the only obstacle to my success was myself, not my gender, but that point of view has been a cornerstone of how I have lived my life and the choices I have made.
Reading these articles written by women, about the need for women to take a more active role in the “coding” side of DH, and the field of technology as a whole, definitely made a convincing argument for the notion that women and girls are not coding or working in the STEM fields because we are discouraged from doing so. One of the questions I was then forced to ask myself was, did I choose History or did History choose me? I began to question many of the fields of interest and the choices I made in my life and education. I wondered whether I really had a passion for the field, or whether, at some point in my early childhood, I was steered in this direction by a “well meaning” educator or other adult, because “girls read and boys do science and math”.
Ultimately, the answer to these questions was the belief I started with: I do what I enjoy, and can do anything I truly put my mind to, no matter my gender. My gender and my role as a wife and mother offer some unique challenges that my male counterparts do not have to consider. What this means, is that I am more creative in dealing with the aforementioned challenges, and whatever others come my way, because I am a woman, not in spite of that fact. Perhaps it is important for the female historians to learn to code and navigate the digital world, and if so, I am sure that I can meet that challenge as well, not because of my gender or in spite of it, but because that is who I am and who I have always been: a person who sees challenges as merely another phase of life to move through.