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Bea Oliveira
Bea Oliveira

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The impostor inside

There is no news here: most women suffer from impostor syndrome. If you have never heard of the term before, it refers to that weird gutsy feeling you get once you get a job, a promotion, or stands out in any way. You can recognize it in that little voice that tells you you are not enough and that sooner or later someone will discover you are a fraud. It is a crippling feeling that makes a lot of things in our career harder than they should be.

I believe that impostor syndrome plays a big role in the gender gap that undoubtedly exists in tech nowadays. As a woman and a programmer, I have identified on myself and my colleagues how this feeling damages our mental health and career progression. It makes us afraid of trying and unsure of our potential. Because programming is an art of practice much more than a skill you can acquire just by reading about it, insecurity and the fear of being discovered as a fraud hinders many women from daring and taking risks, which ultimately affects women's presence on the tech market.

I understand that feeling insecure is not a women's prerogative, there are many men out there that can relate to that. However, the impostor syndrome thing goes deeper than insecurity and it plays a structural role in gender inequality in the market place, especially in the programming sector because of its particular characteristics.

As I said in the beginning, this is no news. Actually, it is a very old discussion, so why write about it again? Because I believe that only when we address this dark brain pattern, call it by its name and recognize who it is affecting the most, then we can start making real change in tech. As someone that is in the job market and lives it on a daily basis, I know that the change we need isn't here yet. And, I believe that it is women's prerogative to talk about their own experience in the area, so we can push for change.

Besides boosting the discussion around it, I believe that we also need to unite. I have been quite the nomad for the last few years and I lived in different countries. However, one thing that has grounded me during all these changes is finding women in tech groups. It is a powerful and revolutionary thing when we help one another. By talking and recognizing the common struggles we can be each other's counterpart to impostor syndrome. When we help another woman overcome its fear of failure, her success becomes a flash of hope that someday reality can be different for ourselves and others like us.

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