Last week, we featured The Wall’s latest vlog series on women in tech on our blog. The series highlights the diversity stumbling blocks many women still routinely face within the tech industry. Since then, Isis Wenger, a software engineer from the US has published a controversial blog post that has spawned the viral #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag.
Wenger, a “passionate self-taught engineer,” hit out at sexist interpretations of what “a female engineer should look like” after a picture taken of her for a recruitment campaign attracted negative attention across social media.
In response to mounting social criticism, Wenger said “she was not a representation of what a female engineer looked like” because there is no such thing. She is an individual, just like every other female engineer working within the industry.
She added: “I want to make it clear that we are all humans, and there are certain patterns of behavior that no one should have to tolerate while in a professional environment. At the end of the day, this is just a campaign that is targeted at engineers. This is not intended to be marketed towards any specific gender — segregated thoughts like that continue to perpetuate sexist thought-patterns in this industry. The campaign is supposed to be authentic – my words, my face, and as far as I am concerned, it is.”
Do you feel passionately about helping spread awareness and increase diversity in tech?
Do you not fit the mould of what people believe engineers “should look like?”
If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, then Isis and the members of the #ILookLikeAnEngineer comunity are inviting you to help spread the word and help them redefine exactly “what an engineer should look like”.
Wenger’s story has resonated with many, with a dedicated team now developing an ILookLikeAnEngineer site, intended to become a community-driven platform for those working in tech to share their stories, experiences and and diversity-related issues. A charitable IndieGoGo campaign has also been launched in order to fund an advertising campaign to raise awareness for diversity difficulties in tech.
It is clear from the widespread vocal support for this campaign that the need for a unified voice and wider support for stronger diversity in the workplace (particularly in the male-dominated tech industry) is stronger than ever before. A single blog post has ignited a profound diverse movement; who knows what could happen when the net is cast even further?