When I was younger I loved reading. I would read on average four books a day. My brother would read to me as I fell asleep. My father would tell me stories in the morning and at night. He was a writer, by passion. Words, sentences, novels— they shaped my childhood. Another thing that subconsciously shaped my childhood was my perception of the working world.
My father was a kickass engineer; he loved to write prose but that didn’t feed his family. Instead, he began coding at a young age, he moved to the United States from East Africa and began to write in different type of languages: Fortran IV, Pascal, C, C++, Java, and many many more.
My brother was an AP acing, number crunching, genius child. I was..well I was 8 years younger than my brother and was definitely still under the covers reading Harry Potter while he was interviewing for his post-uni jobs.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my future, but I did see the strongest figures in my life excel in their professional lives. My father and brother were the most successful people in my eyes and they still are till this day. They’re my role models. However, what I didn’t know when I was younger was that it was going to be very different for me to step into the same high-tech world, and also perform as well in my coveted job. I saw the struggles both my dad and brother faced. But what I would struggle over, what I would have to grapple with, would be a bit different.
Rewind 10 years, little me was in the 6th grade lining up for our routine P.E sports activity; this week it was baseball. The two team captains for baseball were male; they stood at the front eyeing our class ready to go to war at picking teammates. I was definitely not chosen first, but I eventually got on a team. I had never played baseball in my life, but I was excited to try it. I walked out to the field with my bat and high spirits. I missed the ball three times. But I told myself, “It’s okay! Try again next time.” I walked back to the benches and heard one of the boys snicker,
“That’s what happens when you give a girl a baseball bat.”
I told my P.E teacher that I felt sick and didn’t play again. Then I thought maybe it is just a guy sport. Now, I think, that kid can kiss my ass.
You see, I was a little girl then, thrust into a new environment, one in which I was ready to take on. I didn’t have thick skin then; I was 10 years old still building my confidence. I was thrust into an environment that didn’t believe in me. Now, I’m becoming a woman, graduating university, and once again to be thrust into a new environment. One that is unfortunately is still struggling to accept me.
Board Room Personality
This past summer I interned at Twitter in Product Marketing. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Aside from learning how to launch products, I learned work etiquette. I learned how to speak to executives, how to interact with teammates’; I observed, introspected, and then regurgitated. I built strong relationships with women in high positions and I spoke to them about their journeys.
Someone close to me told me that in order to be respected she had to harden her persona in business meetings. It took her a while to create a strong authoritative personality because she was a bubbly, kind, and loving person. She would often go home and second guess whether or not she was too mean or too nice. I realized as I move forward in my career, I too will have to figure out the fine line of when to soften and when to harden.
This summer I realized if I wanted to be an executive woman in tech I needed to train myself to have two personalities. I don’t want to become a harsh, unemotional woman. Many people think this is what you need to be in order to succeed, in some cases that is the sad truth because of the environments many women in are thrusted into. The environment you are in shapes who you will become. Honestly, if I pursued baseball, I’d be one hell of a bitch.
Recently women have come forward to speak of the hostile environment they were put in while working at Apple.
One woman recalled a meeting in which she was the only woman in a room filled with over a dozen men. ‘The conversation turned to all of the men being dismissive about their wives and their significant others. I felt very uncomfortable of the reality that I was the only woman in the room as all of my male coworkers stereotyped women as nags and this was not countered by my manager as being inappropriate.’
Did you know that if you google the word, “CEO” the first dozen pages are all of men?
You have to scroll down about 10 times before you find a picture of a woman CEO, CEO Barbie that is.
Now, it’s not Google’s fault. The images are driven by algorithms, and many CEOs are men. But it’s an indication of how underrepresented women are at the top of the corporate ladder. If more women were working in high-tech there would be fewer situations where we felt like the minority. But think about it. You think women are going to voluntarily throw themselves in hostile work environments? We need to take the risk, we need to push the boundaries, because obviously people aren’t learning and we need to teach them. We are natural born leaders so let’s lead our way to the top-together as a team.
I know what I’m in for as I grow up to be the woman I have envisioned for my life. I know I will have roadblocks my male peers won’t necessarily face. I will get emotional, I will second guess my decisions, but I won’t give up. Women hold half the jobs within the U.S. However, they only hold 25% of STEM positions. Things need to change, and unfortunately we need to take the risks and the hits to make that change. I’m building my tough skin, my board room personality, and alongside many women in all industries, in hopes of kicking ass and kicking down the glass ceiling.
Rabiah Damji is currently a Senior at UC Berkeley. She is a lover of dogs, travel, tech, and writing. Passionate about marketing, thought leadership, and women empowerment, in her free time Rabiah actively blogs on Linkedin reaching an audience of over 15K. She spent her most recent summer at Twitter in Consumer Product Marketing.
The women of this generation are giving their male counterparts a run for their money. Tech was previously dominated by men, in general, but some powerful ladies have taken over the field not just by their charms, but more so by their fierce bearing.
Take for example Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s Chief Executive, who is behind the most popular social channel’s $70 billion revenues. Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President for Apple, for her part as the first woman executive in Tim Cook’s team.
These powerful women proved, time and again, that success knows no gender or any other preference. It lies on the amount of hard work, dedication, and abilities that one pours into the duties handed down to them. You can make a difference, boost your company’s earnings, and stir up your personal career in the process no matter what or who you are as long as you stay motivated.
Powerful women lists are truly inspiring. They show light at the end of the tunnel that women can be highly regarded no matter what industry they enter. It also increases awareness on the essence of women empowerment and many are loving it.
Check out the other powerful women on the list who are all worth emulating.
Be inspired by taking a peek at our delightful infographic:
Tom Fisher is an entrepreneur, author, and founder of InvestSmarter Publishing, a company that helps average individuals take advantage of the investing strategies of the wealthy.
As you probably already realized, we at She Is Fierce! are strong supporters of bringing more girls and young women into the tech space. Learn more about four of our favorite ladies who are changing the game in tech!
You know that little square that pops into the vendor’s phone at your local farmers’ market when you make a purchase? That’s Square, a device revolutionizing the way small businesses are being able to operate and mobilize. Serving as the company’s CFO, Sarah Friar has joined the company after a long stint at Salesforce.com, another Silicon Valley tech giant. Friar encourages women not to become discouraged by the skewed gender ratio in the tech industry; instead, she pushes women to feel emboldened by that, stating the female voice will inevitably stand out so why not take advantage of it!
Though her title as the Chief Executive Officer of Xerox Corporation seems like a feat in itself, Ursula Burns has a much more reputable addition to her resume: she is the first black-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Additionally, in 2009 President Obama appointed her to help grow the White House’s program for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), AND Forbes rated her as the 22nd most powerful woman in the world in 2014. Talk about a fierce lady! She has spent almost the entirety of her career with Xerox, and seeing where she is now, it’s a testament to the notion that hard work pays off!
Indiegogo, a global crowdfunding site, has done wonders to help eradicate the financial burden from lofty dreams of non-profits, individuals, and artists. Chances are you’ve probably donated through the site to help a friend or organization reach their unique fundraising goal, and cofounder Danae Ringelmann is to thank for that! Her initial aim was create a platform so that it was simply easier to make the world a better place, ridding campaigns or fundraising efforts from the logistical barriers that often get in the way of having their ideas come to life.
Start-ups are everywhere now, but the ones you see are the lucky few who made it out of the initial stages and into the development and implementation aspect of the business. Jessica Livingston, cofounder and partner at the Y Combinator, is one of the initial few who helped get some of the today’s most influential companies started. The Y Combinator works as an accelerator that picks promising companies and helps fund them and get their business in motion. So really, her pick is shaping the development of the tech industry as we know it!
As a millennial mom, tech is right up my alley!
Millennial moms were born between 1978 and 1994. Approximately one in five moms today is a millennial. Which of course means we are up-to-date on the latest technology (or we try to be), we are engaged and all over social media, we are a different generation; therefore we have a different parenting style.
There are so many different qualities we have as millennial moms, but most importantly at the end of the day we have the same qualities of moms from other generations… we do everything in our power to protect our kids.
I make sure I give them everything I possible can, and I try to stay as current as I possibly can when it comes to having the best gadgets for them.
Here is my list of 5 Fun Gadgets For Millennial Moms:
1. Pottery Barn Night Lights
Because what small child goes to bed in the dark? Why not give them a nightlight that is fun and something they look forward to turning on and off. This is perfect for a little boy or a little girl!
2. Braun Thermometer
Because all kids get sick right? And if you are reading this and you are claiming your child never gets sick…. Well, I want to know your trick! This cool gadget lights up green if your child is good to go, and red if your child is running a fever.
3. Cat In The Hat Read And Learn App
My step-son is headed off to first grade and my husband and I are doing everything in our power to help him learn to read. This app has been fantastic! While the narrator reads each page to you, each word lights up to help kids recognize the words while hearing it at the same time. Download this app today if you have a child that is learning to read.
4. Dot And Dash
Dot and dash are toy robots.
Dash can be programed for an unlimited number of things. Dot detects when and where it can move. It teaches kids computer science (hands on) They are designed to be programmed by your children and designed to be played with by a child. This is a great invention for kids.
MobiGo is a touch screen learning system that is made for kids. It has both a touch screen and a real keyboard. We got this for my step-son when he was a toddler and I know we will be getting it for our daughter when she is a little older. I truly believe this system helped him learn a few things at a quicker rate than normal.
What tech are you investing in for your child? Let us know in the comment section below!
Kelly Wonderlin expanded her entrepreneurial reach coining the term, “It’s A Wonderful Wonderlin Life” and sharing it with the world on her YouTube channel and blog. Kelly works in a marketing/advertising/social media space and often partners with really cool brands as a video correspondent, spokesperson and (or) brand rep. Above all Kelly balances her professional life with her family and personal life.
Connect with Kelly… www.kellywonderlin.com, Twitter, Facebook
“A ship in port is safe, but this is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”
That quote is from Grace Hopper, a woman and a pioneer in the world of computer science. Many women have had influence in the world of computer science throughout history, but data now tells a different story.
Fewer and fewer women are entering the field of computer science. Less diversity in the field leads to homogeneous thinking and a hindrance to innovation. As of now, only 20% of the computer science workforce is representing the voices of women.
This leaves women behind the curve in the “new economy” in which advanced computing skills can lead to lucrative careers. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]As of now, only 20% of the computer science workforce is representing the voices of women. [/pullquote]Unfortunately, unless something is done to narrow the gap in the field, it will only add to gender and salary inequalities.
Studies show that gender identity and bias begins early. While we are seeing a shift, a feeling of inadequacy in math and science is still prevalent in young women. Girls often have less exposure to computers and computer science classes throughout their school years. There is also a distinct absence of female role models in the field of computer science..
This is a call to action for all of us, mothers, fathers, teachers, business leaders, and politicians. It is imperative that we begin to reach students beginning as early as Elementary School. [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]This is a call to action for all of us, mothers, fathers, teachers, business leaders, and politicians. [/pullquote]Outreach can demystify computer science, inspire budding computer scientists, and stop stereotypes before they are even formed. There are organizations such as Girls Who Code, Made With Code, and Girl Develop It working to reach and mentor young girls. As fierce women, mothers, and advocates, we must put forth our voice as well in support of inspiring the next generation of fierce women in computer science.
Jennifer Ralston Stringer is the founder and a consultant at Square 32 Consulting. Over the past 15 years, Jennifer has gained experience as a Teacher, Administrator, Educational Technology Coordinator, and Professional Development Leader. In 2010, she founded Square 32 Consulting to help schools, parents and educational technology companies understand the changing world of the digital learning age. Her clients have included public and private schools, parent groups, and various educational technology companies.
Meet Jennifer at Square 32 Consulting