should I have spent more time in the locker room or at the golf club?
Not so sure why but there have been a bunch of articles around the subject of the tech world being a mens club. I am pretty sure that you will hear that it isn't just the tech world that is a mens club but it is a mans world in many different fields. From a glance it might just appear to be that way in the tech world but there is absolutely a large group of women out there who you might not see at the local bar chilling at the end of the day or hanging at a tech meet-up because women network differently.
I recently sat down at two meetings with different women to talk about their companies where I happen to have a vested interest. One woman did not grow up in this country. She is an engineer by training and has grown up being one of the few women in the room so her attitude about fund raising and her accomplishments are very different than many women I come across. The other woman has built a killer platform but her approach to fundraising is not so strong. Unfortunately, it has to be so we are working on that.
This week I also met a woman who had started a company and is about to go about getting funded. She got a lot of kudos winning a contest and money came flowing through the door. She chose not to take it quite yet because she wanted to make sure she had built a more solid product product before taking the cash. Hate to say this but a man would never do that. A man might even take a job writing code when he wasn't so sure he could but figured he could figure it out, a woman never would. Not all women but most.
Is it the locker room mentality that strips down all insecurities, pushes one forward to take it like a man, forces everyone to communicate with each other ( aka network ) regardless of actually enjoying their company but because they are on the same team, it is that swagger that happens when you play on a team and walk down the high school hallways, is it, is it, is it…honestly, who knows but there is certainly a combination of many things that separate the men from the boys and the women from the men. Perhaps it is just innate.
So do women become like men in order to get to the top of their fields? Absolutely not. What we should do is create communities that support each other and start doing business with each other, create opportunities to work with other women basically creating a secondary circle of the tech industry that becomes just as powerful and complex as the boys club. Change has to come from outside not within.
Most important is that women need to find answers and come backs for some of the unfortunate interactions that take place. Be strong, be fierce and be tough. Like raising money from someone who starts to hit on them or say how cute they are. Come back with a sharp comeback or tell them to go fuck themselves and leave the room. You wouldn't want their money anyway. When more women start to take a stand when it comes to being respected for their brains in a professional setting more men will realize that it is not OK to behave like that.
Kind of rambling here but I do believe that women have come a long way but we have farther to go. Should we have spent more time in the locker room or learned how to play golf, not necessarily. What we should do is create our own network, our own community, our own support system and make sure that our successes are out there everyday for the world to see.