In around 1842 Ada Lovelace was recognized as "the first computer programmer". A century and some decades later we, "women", are still a minority in computing. Over the past one year at Tech I have attended a couple of women centric conferences in an attempt to figure out what is it that hinders a woman to progress. With the same perplexity with which Richard asks the question
"You can walk through walls, can't you Don?" I ask," What is it that all successful women have in common?"
How does being a woman make things difficult? Aren't the norms and standards of success exactly the same for everyone? I don't deny the existence of the glass ceiling, neither the fact that it is difficult to live and breathe the differences ( be it sexual or of any other nature ) without losing what we hold so close,which with women is femininity. The high school nerd is not the one who gets all the heads turning when she enters the premises, nor does she gets the fair share of being the talk of the town ( and at that age that is all that matters!! ). At home, the appreciation that a girl receives for baking a delicious cuisine is much more than when she burns a small piece of paper using a magnifying glass as her first experiment to understand the power of photons. She is gifted a barbie as opposed to a leapfrog. And may be it is this upbringing that later plays its part and the same girl drops out of engineering school and complains about mathematics being so obscure. But then there is this other segment of women who don't.
Grace Hopper Conference is a tribute to and a celebration of the courage that led these women to chase their dreams, stand and fight for things that mattered most to them. Even a dried leaf can flow with the currents, it is the valor of the dreams that swim against the currents of time that mark them as being alive. It is this that we gather to celebrate. Can you imagine the ambiance that the presence of not just one but hundreds of women, warriors and winners will create? You are coming to witness this aren't you?
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10 months ago