During this year’s Super Bowl, skincare brand Olay partnered with the non-profit organization Girls Who Code for a powerful advertisement inspired by last year’s first all-female spacewalk. The TV spot was part of their #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign to promote better inclusion for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Lack of equal opportunity in STEM is still a very real problem, with women holding only 25% of all coding/computing positions as of 2015.
At Acquia, we’re proud sponsors and advocates of Girls Who Code and other initiatives that encourage more women leaders in tech. Open source projects like Drupal are founded on a belief in the power of community and diverse perspectives. To live up to these ideals, we need to welcome and support underrepresented groups and provide the platforms for women to pursue their goals and share their stories.
This year, to commemorate International Women’s Day, we want to take part in the effort of #EachforEqual. As a global community, we can all do more to help forge a gender-equal world through recognizing bias and promoting the achievement of women across all fields from athletics to education to technical innovation. One of my favorite parts of my role at Acquia has been getting to run our ongoing blog series, “The Women of the Drupal of Community,” which showcases not only each woman’s important contributions to the Drupal world but their unique career paths and the advice they have for future generations of women looking to get involved in technology.
Here are just a few of the powerful insights we’ve heard from women in the Drupal community:
“I think people just need to let others show you what they can do because success is not defined by what you look like or what your body is – it’s about what your mind will let you get done.”
-Lynette Miles, Principal Technical Writer (Team Lead) at Acquia
“For the future generation, it's important for children to have access to classes that teach them programming. Children don't have the same biases that we do. If we can break those biases before they happen, I can see a much more diverse future in the tech industry.”
-Marie Kiryanova, Associate Architect at Third and Grove
“One of the most disappointing moments of my career as a whole was having a department Vice President tell me he felt I’d be a distraction to his male-dominant team of developers. Removing the stigma that technology is a man’s game and bringing awareness to the fact that there are many successful women in technology is the first step to debunking that myth.”
-Beverly Lanning, Technical Architect at Acquia
“People always assume that because I’m bubbly and have a good sense of humor, I’m also young and inexperienced. Earlier in my career, I was even asked: ‘Are you the intern?’. That’s hard to hear. As a result, I’ve had to develop gravitas and authority. I think that can be really hard for women in technology too.”
-Shannon Vettes, Senior Program Manager at Acquia
“Imposter syndrome is an easy trap to fall into. You put others on a pedestal and doubt your own abilities. So my advice would be to trust yourself, be confident and keep working toward your goals.”
-Stella Power, Founder and Managing Director of Annertech
“High-potential women are over-mentored but under-sponsored. Sponsorship is when a senior leader advocates for the junior person and is their champion. Mentorship is certainly valuable -- but sponsorship is what leads to promotions and advancement.”
-Christina Dulude, Manager, Technical Account Management at Acquia
“Diverse teams have fewer blinders, and fewer blinders make better tech. We have to start thinking of a diverse workforce as a critical part of our methodology, not something we do because we’re supposed to.”
-Jordan Harrison, Program Manager at Acquia
Thank you to all the inspiring women who have shared their wisdom and who continue to represent the best of what Drupal and the entire technical community have to offer. We still have work to do to close the gender gap in technology, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in my time in the Drupal space, it’s that progress starts by bringing people together.