I’d heard about this book (Amazon) for a long time, but especially since I arrived here – the other women in the office are huge fans, and talked about it a lot. And I kept thinking I would get around to reading it, but no hurry, I’ve read a lot of the research, I think I get what the issues are.
But we were running these events in New Zealand – discussion groups about the book. So it became pressing and there was a deadline! So I finally got around to reading it.
I was right. I didn’t get much new information out of it – but wow, how I wish I had read it when I was 18. It’s full of information and data about things that I learned the hard way. How you don’t need to be one-dimensional to be a good engineer, how women are less likely to only code – “dream in code” – in their spare time, and that is OK. The kind of things – poor teaching, for example – that disproportionately affect women.
That was just the book. The discussion groups were amazing, the best events I have done for university students. We just had these amazing and open conversations about what we find hard, and ways that we find to cope. Especially afterwards, when we could go around and chat to the girls in smaller groups, and they would really open up. I’ve been getting amazing, lovely emails in response to the events, and hopefully more events will follow.
Seriously, if you have any interest in female engineers, read this book. If you can, get a or some copies for female university students near you. I wonder how much would change if every first year girl in (or near) CS got a copy! And if you want to run a discussion group, hit me up, I’d be happy to help.