Social media is a double edged sword and I don’t often partake in “Twitter Wars”… simply because I don’t have the time nor desire to. But, I was on the train back from Nottingham on Saturday when I came across a tweet from @WomeninTechChat regarding blocking a person for whining about the use of the hashtag #womenintech. Out of curiosity I found the tweets involved and found that there were more conversations around the subject that this person was trying to stir and it was upsetting a lot of people, simply because what he was replying was kind of contradicting what he said he believed, and he was calling women who use the hashtag attention seekers.
So I felt compelled to say my piece because this person (who has this separate Twitter account to his personal one, specifically to “troll”) was saying that women only use the #womenintech because they are attention seeking and want extra privileges… I felt I had to reply because I wanted to point out that him saying that is part of the problem, we as women (not only in tech) do want equality, not to be seen as better than men or to have unfair advantages. Personally I describe myself as an equalist, not feminist, yet there are people like himself who think that I cannot express my thoughts as he feels confident enough to do… against a use of a hashtag.
After many replies going back and forth I suggested to him that when he went to work (he works in tech) on Monday morning that he should speak personally to each woman in the office and ask them to speak truthfully about their experiences in tech to #geteducated. The best reply ever came when he said that “sadly” he works with no women, it is an all male team. Which is exactly the point that started this whole discussion on Twitter off, that there should be equality, diversity and inclusion, and how could he say that women were just using the hashtag for attention seeking when his work doesn’t even have any women, it baffles me. He then went on to tell me that diversity isn’t a good thing and sent me this article.
Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and although I personally view his opinions as ignorant there are many who share those views or think stronger and that is what many women have to deal with on a day to day basis, whilst trying to smash the glass ceiling and just doing their job.
As I pointed out to this person, for me the use of the #womenintech is because I am proud that I was encouraged and choose to go into this industry and that I have completed a degree and work placement in IT. I use the hashtag in pride and as a way to network and reach other women in tech. And I will keep on using that hashtag, not because I am attention seeking, but because it is a fact that I am a women in tech.
You can see the Twitter conversation here and make your own judgements 🙂