How Women In Tech Can Build Solidarity Together

The feeling of exclusion as a female in tech is a familiar one. I’m not an engineer, but I have a bachelor’s degree in business and am a self-taught digital marketing strategist. As a female founder, I’ve raised more than $10 million dollars in the last 15 years. Even so, I’ll never forget what a VC said to me when I was fundraising in 2011: “I didn’t think a woman could write a business plan. It’s hard to believe.”

Shocking, I know. But the truth is, there are many ways to silence and minimize women’s contributions in tech, and it doesn’t help that we’re greatly outnumbered. According to Burtch Works, 85% of data scientists are male. What’s more, only 18% of computer science bachelor’s degrees in 2016 were awarded to women, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. So, what can be done to help women make their mark in tech?

I’ve talked to hundreds of women about this subject. Most agree that while the obstacles to female career advancement are substantial, there’s also a lot of opportunity to lean on and learn from other women to get ahead. Here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from these discussions:

Perfection can be perfectly miserable.

We’ve all been in situations that required handing in a project that felt partially undone, or maybe not up to par with our full potential. But some of the women I’ve talked to have been truly paralyzed by the fear of not being perfect. When I was younger, I felt like my work needed to be perfect or I was a failure. Perfectionism isn’t uniquely a female trait, but it’s one that has come up time and time again in my conversations with women in tech. There can be so much internal pressure to turn out high-quality work so that men take you and your work more seriously.

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