Besides dragging myself out of bed for a dreadful run and logged in 5 hours of studying, I participated in PyLadies and RLadies Virtual Unconference, and that was 100% worth it. I stumble upon this even on Meetup with desperation for a community but hesitance of in-person meetings with friends. You should check it out, too.
During the two hours, we got to talk about our experiences. I was a complete newbie, while the others had up to 10 years of experience, but it was touching to see how attentive they are. Every nod, every response to my and others’ questions, every smile upon agreement, all made me felt welcome and encouraged to engage in the conversation, and I hope to participate in more of their events.
Even though this is a “-Ladies” thing, we didn’t talk about being ladies at all, which I was grateful about because I didn’t go there as to find people to complain about what disadvantages we experienced, but rather to find myself in a professional place in which others share their experience as a whole – a developer, an human resources generalization, or a student looking for a job.
During the meeting, I asked a question about finding resources to learn about the field and the values of our activities on CVs. LS shared that during her time reading through applications and hiring candidates that fitted the culture of her company, she noticed that men tend to put achievements on their profiles. They share things such as “this is what I did” or “this is a goal I accomplished” or “this is a prize I got for my project”. On the other hand, women share more of their process. They didn’t just show the end of the work, they indicated each step of the way. They told stories about how they failed and how they overcame challenges, and to LS, that was what she found valuable: “we know your past shape who you are today, but upon hiring you for our company, we want to see the future with you more.”
I have read from different sources about how girls growing up are expected to be perfect, to not fail and to get everything right on the first attempt, while boys are encouraged to get dirt all over, to try throwing that ball thousands of times until they become unbeatable. There has always been this difference between how we treat boys and girls that lead to the division in industries such as technology or literature. With that belief, I found LS’s claim about the applicant pool to be surprising but also inspiring. I think it’s finally time that girls/ladies/women value just what their own goals and work hard to get there despite of the ups and downs in the division.
To close, I want to share something that the host said. She was a Vietnamese, too, and she was so sweet to be asking everyone questions and engage with everybody.
The barrier that you break, you try to pave the way for others.LNC
I look up to the work that PyLadies, RLadies, and many other women-in-tech organizations are doing. Breaking a barrier comes with great responsibilities and difficulties, yet they are working toward it and the future begins there.