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She Coded, 2021

Laurie
Software dev at Netflix | DC techie | Conference speaker | egghead Instructor | TC39 Educators Committee | Girls Who Code Facilitator | Board game geek | @laurieontech on twitter
・2 min read

I wasn't sure if I wanted to write one of these this year. If you're on twitter you may know that last week was full of bad sexist takes that were incredibly demoralizing.

Yet, it's tradition. Once a year, I walk away from tutorials and tech posts, and I write about all the things I don't normally choose or want to write about.

This year, I want to take about lived experiences.

We all move through the world a bit differently. Yet we all have similar experiences as humans. Those may seem like conflicting statements, but they're not. And it's more important than ever that we understand that.

I move through this industry as a white woman. There is inherent challenge in that to be sure. Some of which I didn't truly experience until this year, for myriad reasons. And having that experience diminished or ignored is hurtful.

When I share a story of discrimination, however well-intended, a man telling me what to do differently next time is unhelpful. They're telling me what they would do, what would work for them. But they've never experienced this industry as I do. And what works for them won't work for me.

But I'm a white woman. So that means there are just as many experiences of discrimination and harm caused by this industry that I have not experienced. And my advice does not belong in those conversations. Because I don't know how to navigate the experience of a Black woman, or a disabled woman, or so many others.

My job is to believe those experiences. Full stop. To listen, to learn, to find ways to advocate with the voice and privilege I have.

Discrimination exists on a spectrum. I expect those who don't experience sexism to listen to my lived experiences. To believe me. To learn from me. But intersectionality is everything. And I have a lot to learn too.

Coding may be for machines, but this industry is full of people. And we have a long way to go until everyone has the same experiences and opportunities.

Discussion (1)

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kotzendekrabbe profile image
Feli (she/her)

As a white cis woman I couldn't agree more. I wrote after my personal expierence something similiar. That we should challenge ourselfs, to use our privilege to fight against discrimination. Happy International Women's Day