This March, to mark Women’s History Month, the women in IT met to discuss our experiences working in Tech. While we agreed that there is room for improvement in the greater tech industry, things have greatly improved over the decades and our experiences in Washington County have been positive overall. We feel valued and respected.
During the meeting, we reflected on our careers outside the county. Many of us have worked for decades in a variety of Tech industries including the armed forces, software development, law enforcement, and tech support. We can remember when working in a “man’s world” meant being told we need to make the coffee, receiving comments that we would look better if we wore dresses, or being dismissed because we weren’t pretty enough. Even in the current century, one of us was asked why she was in a university STEM program that was male dominated.
However, we all agreed that these situations made women work harder, be strong, persistent, and motivated – and that the tech industry has greatly improved in the last 30 years. As the “old boys’ club” has aged out of the workforce, we now work with men who grew up with or grew their careers with strong working women, and these men – our relatives, teachers, and colleagues – have been our mentors and advocates.
Even though the IT Department is only 27.5% female (which reflects the global rate of 28%), the women in Washington County IT usually forget that we work in a male dominated field because we’re involved, valued, and part of the team.