Women in tech are generally expected to be perfect. We have to be brilliant, we have to know every intricacy of our field, and we're expected to do all that looking perfect.
I have a lot of angst about my work, and it honestly holds me back. I worry about keeping up with the guys I work with. I worry about what I look like at work, as if that isn't the silliest thing ever - they didn't hire me to be a supermodel, just to be able to troubleshoot and fix issues. I have a panic attack every night when I go home and realize I'd screwed up a test pass, or if I leave without having finished it because I'm tired of fighting with the test harness. I'm new to the team and to test work, having been a sysadmin previously. It's a fine line between cutting myself some slack and figuring out the ropes so I can be a productive member of the team.
I was so pleased to read this article today: I Need Terrible Female Engineers
It needs to be okay for women to fail. We need flawed women whose mistakes represent just that — their own mistakes. Not reflections upon our entire gender, not held up as reasons for why women aren’t meant to be in tech. We need to accept women in this field who aren’t incredibly talented, who aren’t going to send shockwaves through the industry, who want to be here just because it’s a great place to be.
Later, she was accused of telling people to hire bad engineers just because they're female. Her response was terrific:
Being expected to be either a “perfect super-human” or a “girl who can’t code” puts a huge amount of pressure on women. I’m suggesting that showing women it is okay to not fall into those categories would help the tech industry feel more inclusive as a whole. Women, like men, fall on a spectrum and having a diversity of talent would relieve the pressure for all of us who feel as though we have to be on one of the extreme ends.
What do you think? Are there unfair expectations placed on you, or women you know who work in tech?