It’s true. I’m a Web Designer, and I’m a woman.
(I’ll wait a minute for that to sink in.)
I did some research (OK, I did a quick Google search) to find the gender statistics on women in web design. It looks like it has been a few years since this has been written about. I wish that meant that this is no longer an issue in the field, but my experiences (and those of some of my colleagues) would indicate otherwise.
When I attended my first ever WordPress meetup, I was the only woman in the room. I had just started to learn to put content on pages, and the topic was CSS and Amazon hosting. I was in over my head (or so it felt). It’s not that the men weren’t welcoming, because they were, but I still didn’t feel like I belonged there.
But I persisted with WordPress, and a year later attended another meetup. I now organize the Rochester meetup. We’ve doubled our size and consistently have 50% or more women in attendance.
Recently, a friend and I had a fun exchange on Facebook as the result of another friend’s post about pink camouflage for female hunters:
Me: Duh! I can only use pink tools, too. And all my code is in a pink font, of course.
Meagan Hanes: I thought us girls couldn’t even code, cause it’s so hardddddd.
Me: It’s a little easier if you make your monitor white and pink.
Meagan: OHHHHHH Now I get it!! Should I use a cursive font too?
Me: Obviously. And make sure to dot the i’s with hearts!
Meagan: My business manager doesn’t love our feminine branding. So I fired him.
Me: With a hand-written note on pink perfume-scented paper?
Meagan: How else should a pink slip be delivered?
While of course this conversation was a bit tongue-in-cheek, the truth remains that women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are still the minority. And that those of us in the field still butt up against glass ceilings, closed doors, and gender misconceptions and “norms.”
The good news is that most of us are seeing a change come about. But change like this doesn’t come by accident. It comes as a result of the hard work of the women who have walked the path before us, and even through our own journeys and the headway we are making today.
I believe WordPress is helping to bring about change.
When I attended my first WordCamp in 2014, the attendance was almost half women. I was, at first, astonished, then ecstatic. I was joining a subset of a field (that being WordPress in the field of web design) and I was seeing lots of women in sessions with me. And they weren’t all 20-somethings. There were 30-, 40-, 50-somethings and more. I was not only not alone…I didn’t have to be the one leading the way. I could walk alongside others.
WordPress in its open-source-ness encompasses anyone who wants to embrace, contribute and use it. WordPress meetups and WordCamps are held in places that are open to all.
WordCamp organizers are expected to prioritize inclusivity and diversity by creating a 100% welcoming atmosphere at WordCamp and actively recruiting diverse organizers, speakers, and volunteers.
I am woman, see me code.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I am woman, see me code. Ladies let’s represent. Take up the challenge, share what we know, and help others. ” quote=”I am woman, see me code. Ladies let’s represent. Take up the challenge, share what we know, and help others.”]
While women designers and developers are growing in numbers, it’s still not uncommon to see a larger percentage of men presenting at WordCamps and other technology conferences. It’s time we took up the challenge, shared what we know, and helped others with the resources we can offer.
Ladies, let’s represent.
Over the next few weeks, I will be publishing guest posts from other women in WordPress. I am grateful for their stories, their struggles, their triumphs and their friendships. I know you will be, too.
Email me or use the form in the sidebar to submit your ideas and questions, and they may show up in a future post.
Overextended, overcommitted, entrepreneur, volunteer, and social butterfly. Avid Scrabble player. Tea snob. Mom. School board member. Marketing fanatic. 11th hour expert. WordPress Meetup Coordinator. WordCamp speaker. WordCamp organizer. Frequent WordCamp attendee.
I am the owner and marketing diva at Marketed by Michelle.
Follow me on Twitter @michelleames.