Ever since I started coding in middle school, I’ve decided on a career in computer science .
I’m very lucky and grateful that I was able to find a passion at an early age and to have enjoyed and stuck with it throughout my academic life. Of course, there were a couple times when I started to doubt my choice a little bit.
One of these experiences taught me that a lot of people, women especially, don’t have enough self-confidence, and (an ugly truth that must be put bluntly) some women sometimes just don’t trust or support other women.
A while ago, I worked under someone who was prejudice against women because of the culture and times they were raised in. At first, I thought the treatment was my fault–that I simply lacked the skills necessary to do whatever was asked of me. However, after learning and working with other people, I began to realize that I simply was not given the respect and leeway that was offered to the guys. As a human being, I deserved the same respect.
I wasn’t the best and brightest in the group, but I certainly wasn’t out of my field or irresponsible. Sometimes you catch yourself thinking that it’s okay to not deserve a decent amount of support from superiors if you aren’t super brilliant, and sometimes that works in your favor because you work harder. Other times, it’s a disadvantage because you don’t notice when other people are pushing you down for, really, no legitimate reason at all. I came up with an excuse to leave the division and worked with someone else to a much better end. Hopefully, I’ll never see them again.
That experience made me realize that this type of opinion and the demeaning mindset are more common than I had believed. Working in a modern field, you don’t see many people who hang onto the belief in the women-men ability disparity. However, it exists. What’s more, less severe forms–gender “micro-aggressions”–are quite prevalent; I know that I’ve been guilty of them. Sometimes you don’t believe a woman when she says that she’s a victim of sexism. You might think she’s being dramatic or not acknowledging her own shortcomings. Then, you realize that maybe you’ve harmed someone who, like all of us, is already sitting precariously on a tower of very fragile self-esteem built by diplomas, awards, and paper reviews.
So please, trust one another, support one another, and remember to fight your inner critic for your right to basic civil treatment.