I’m a woman web designer – what this means to me.
Being a web designer/developer is, for me, one of the most interesting and fulfilling careers available today. I love helping clients understand and implement the technology combination they need to achieve their dreams, and often times help by asking interesting questions that benefit the client in abstract and concrete ways.
However, as a woman, this industry has its ups and downs. In certain situations, I’ve had to work harder to justify my value to a male client who questions me in a way that my male colleagues don’t receive. I commonly have to speak louder or outright physically interject in place of mere body language (opening the mouth at the end of someone’s thought, looking at how others are listening to the speaker, etc.) to be able to merely respond to the discussion at a networking event. Straight up, sometimes us ladies play the game where we count how many minutes it takes for male dominated discussions to turn to including us.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Sometimes us ladies play the game where we count how long it takes for male discussions to turn to include us @mhanes” quote=”Sometimes us ladies play the game where we count how long it takes for male discussions to turn to including us.”]
Thankfully we are always on the incline regarding equality of past transgressions. This community in particular, as it stems from the explorative and expressive medium of the internet, is open to change, though the speed of such adoption varies from niche to niche. In my experience, the WordPress community is very open and welcoming to all people, all genders, all races, and all mindsets, supporting the common goal of producing and sharing WordPress. However even this community has challenges, such as consistent woman’s T-shirt sizes and availabilities – I have an official shirt in women’s XL that barely fits my cabbage patch doll – and some WordCamps don’t even *offer* women’s cuts. In 2016. Some don’t “see the value” in doing so, so allow me to be clear: if you want more women in STEM and at your event, in your group, etc, create t-shirts that THEY can wear. Women often have breasts and arms and torsos that are different sizes from men’s. We’re not asking for custom tailored clothes, merely a women’s option instead of settling for a larger men’s size that I cannot comfortably wear – the neck always chokes me 🙁
Open Source = More Equality and Accessibility
However, I’m happy to report that thanks to this being an open source community, one can change and make things more equal and accessible, and that’s just what we’ve done, and continue to do so 🙂
I haven’t even gone in to how as woman, we are often equipped with very handy skills that facilitate web design and development – active listening for project scoping, taking focused and actionable notes, and organization skills to execute projects on time are three areas where in my experience, women often outperform men in addition to delivering on our goal.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The #1 tip I could give is to meet other like-minded women designers and developers, in person or virtually. ” quote=”The #1 tip I could give is to meet other like-minded women designers and developers, perhaps monthly in person or virtually. “]
Having these friends to share and brainstorm with will propel you and them to far greater heights than you can reach alone!
Meagan Hanes is a WordPress expert and technology consultant based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with over 20 years creating websites by hand and over 10 years using WordPress to power great applications and websites. She creates elegant, high-performance, mobile-optimized web solutions – front-end, back-end, and everything in between. You may have seen her present talks across a variety of WordPress subjects, such as website performance, the website creation process, and learning HTML/CSS. She gives back to local communities through organizing WordCamp Ottawa 2016 and 2017, running meetups such as the Ottawa WordPress Community and the Arnprior WordPress Group, and teaching others to code via Ladies Learning Code. Meagan is currently in the process of launching a new web agency, and is interested to talk with anyone who has ideas or advice 🙂
Follow Meagan on Twitter @mhanes.
If you are interested in submitting a guest post for WPFanatic, contact Michelle.
Photo credit for image of Meagan and Andrea goes to Kari Leigh Marucchi of Found Art Photography. Thanks for the great event photography, Kari Leigh!
Photo credit for image of Meagan and Matt goes to Meagan’s awesome selfie skills.