I’ve had coaching sessions with the lovely Hayley since January. And I’m getting to the point where I’m identifying the themes that make me buzz - with excitement, or, sometimes, fear. It has been an interesting period of reflecting on what I react to, and whether those reactions are for good or bad reasons. One of the things I’ve got written down is “equality and inclusivity”. And as I have been exploring more what that means to me I received a link to this article in the SheSays Brighton newsletter the other day.
When I read it, this paragraph jumped up and down and grabbed my attention:
“There are more & more platforms and programs to increase girls interest and access to STEM, often involving women scientists as role models, mentors, and guides. But in so many ways it is important for boys to see and interact with women scientists, for them to spend time with girls as capable science enthusiasts. Otherwise women are more likely to experience gendered stereotypes in college, grad school, and later in their careers. And this isn’t just about gender. Inclusive interactions are essential across diverse identities along dimensions of race, faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, health, dis/ability, age.”
So yes, that! Normalise this. Don’t spotlight it. Make it normal and accepted that women, people of colour, of different faiths, of different (dis)abilities, can do a whole plethora of things. This spotlighting has always been my discomfort at the “teaching girls/women to code” events. It is a separation and spotlighting which shouldn’t need to exist and that I don’t want to support because it makes it stand out and remarked upon. I’d rather contribute to things that normalise so that technology, and all other disciplines actually, is a place that is welcoming regardless of your background and what you look like or present as. How much richer will our society be when everyone is welcomed at the table.