Last Tuesday, I went to a Women in Technology Panel, presented by General Assembly. On the heels of PyMoms launching I felt it important to hear what successful women were saying about succeeding in Technology. It was a fascinating conversation with an hour of Q&A. But it wasn’t until the end that the question of family came up. With a room of predominantly 20 somethings, it’s not the first thing they’re thinking. But in that room were a lot of women that would become mothers. It’s an important question. And unfortunately noone on the panel was a mother. There were at least two other mothers in the audience, but that was probably it. Being a meetup held on a Tuesday at 7pm was probably a factor in that. But what do we do about family and excelling in Tech? The panel murmured and one said, “Have a supportive husband.” While I don’t disagree with this. Not every mother has that or even a spouse at all. And having a supportive husband should not be the end all answer. Or should it be? How are successful fathers going to conferences and technical meetups throughout the week? Is it solely because of a supportive spouse? Maybe.
At the panel, I heard from a lot of Type A personalities, which just makes sense. The way to be heard and the way to succeed is to be a little more assertive. A little more engaged. I don’t think I’ll ever be as assertive and strong willed as a Type A. But I can learn from them. And I think women must begin to put themselves in front. I know societal norms don’t conform to this, but it’s what we must do mentally to start getting traction. One can have children and stay in the loop. Men do this all the time. We just have to have our moments of selfishness. We also have to start asking for things. Hey guys, sometimes its nice to do a meetup on a Sunday or a Saturday morning. If planned with some time, those are generally the times parents can come. Sitters are more available, homework isn’t pressing and they’re probably more relaxed and receptive.
Being a parent is tough. I’m hoping we can shed more and more light on it, especially in the Tech space. We want women and we want them to stay! Let’s work on it.