A Letter to Women in Tech, I Let You Down


Dear Ladies,

I hope that you’re well. I’m sure you’re busy so I’ll get to the point.

It’s been brought to my attention that I’ve been doing it wrong. I’m sorry. I never got the memo. No one told me that I was different. I mean, sure, people joked about it from time to time, but I never truly believed them. I should have. Crap, I’m rambling. See, if I was a man this would be much clearer but, I just have all these emotions to deal with! What I’m trying to say here is that no one told me there were different rules for us than there are for men. And because I didn’t know, I didn’t play by them. I didn’t make excuses. I didn’t grow up thinking I should expect less.

I see now I was wrong.

There was an eye-opening article on Inc. Magazine yesterday from Drew Gannon where she (yes, she) writes about the uphill battle women face in tech. Drew’s piece touches on the Women in Technology Panel (catch it on YouTube) that took place last week where Important Women came together to discuss the power of women and the challenges we still face.

What are some of these challenges?

  • We’re meek.
  • We don’t share ideas in meetings.
  • We routinely discount ourselves.
  • We’re bad at math, science and other things that require high-level brain thinkings.
  • We’re responsible for twice as much of the housework than men and three times the childcare.

Dude! I had no idea! I always thought these were personality traits certain people had – like a bad temper or an affinity for collecting life-sized dolls. How wrong I was! I didn’t understand that these traits reflected my gender and that I was to cling to them like a self-defeating safety net, pulling them out for the cameras.

I am a girl and therefore I am weak. I mean, meek. I am meek.

You know what else I didn’t know? That working alongside other women is detrimental to your success because it creates a girl ghetto that is stifling to growth. It seems that women are more prone to connect with people below them. Put them all in a company together and no one ever grows. Men are smarter than us so they friend up; we friend down. [We also marry down, but the men don’t rail us for that. They just enjoy it.]

Do you know what ELSE I didn’t know? That women work less than men and purposely pick jobs that are financially less rewarding with better social climates. Again, dude! My mind is blown.

All of this brings me back to my apology. I have been living my life backwards and I’m here to say I’m sorry.

You see, instead of being meek, I chose to be outspoken. Instead of worrying about carrying the cross that is being a girl, I chose to focus on being successful. I know that I’m still young, but I think I’ve had a fairly blessed career so far, one that has been filled with great opportunities, great people and great work.

When I partnered with Rhea Drysdale in January of 2009 to form a full-service Internet marketing agency called Outspoken Media, I had no idea I was essentially creating a brothel of mediocrity by pairing with a woman and attracting other competitive, driven women. I thought I had been creating a company that achieved results. Our clients seem happy and we continue to grow, to earn buzz, to move forward. But now I see I’ve been doing it wrong. Instead of speaking out, I should have been shutting up and accepting the stereotype that everyone seems so set on continually shoving down our throats.

So from now on, I will:

  • Practice saying “I can’t”, instead of working to make things happen.
  • Look helpless more and feel guilty for my success.
  • Keep my mouth shut and not speak out or inspire change.
  • Stop looking at women like Gina Trapani, Michelle Robbins or Sonia Simone for leadership.
  • I’ll fight less, move less, want less, be less.

Basically, I will become a better woman by devolving into the type of woman popularized in these “Women In Tech” articles. Because that must be the model for a woman in business and what I’m supposed to look like. If it’s not, then why is it the one constantly propaganda’d and highlighted? Why do women spend their time cutting down other women?

I always believed that RIGHT NOW was the perfect time to be both female and in the tech industry. Because the industry doesn’t just want us, they need us. They need us for their panels, for their articles, for representatives. They’re desperate for us to help change the face of our industry. And all we needed to do, I thought, was to find the chutzpah to stand up, to claim our spot, and to own it. I thought I was doing the right thing by fighting for that.

But if the real women in tech are the ones who Inc. Magazine, Penelope Trunk and BNET keep writing about and introducing us to, then I’ve been doing this whole “woman in business” thing backwards for the past six years. And I guess I need to say I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for wanting better than that – for myself, for Outspoken Media, and for every other woman in this industry. More than that, I’m sorry for the women who don’t want better and for the media channels so focused on telling an outdated story.

I’m sorry I haven’t been following your rules. Because your rules suck.

Your Comments

  • Jill Whalen

    Funny, I saw you tweet that Inc article yesterday and I read it and thought it strange that you had tweeted it, as it was so horrible!

    Now I understand.

    I think I owe everyone an apology as well!

    • Lisa Barone

      Sometimes things blow my mind so badly I can’t NOT share them. Everyone else has to suffer through them too. Though I did add that I hoped that post would be the dumbest thing I read all day. ;)

      So far it has been.

  • Wade Kwon

    Brilliant, Lisa. Brilliant.

    (Apology accepted.)

  • Sarah Carling

    You know, I stopped reacting to the articles that talked about how hard it is to be a woman so many years ago now, that I read them and they hardly register except for a roll of the eyes and a shrug of the shoulders. If huge numbers of women want to feel like they have to live their lives that way, then it’s a shame, but as the article isn’t really talking about anyone I know or recognise, my instinct is to assume it’s all about the writers own insecurities, because it’s certainly not the world I live in.

    Having said that I love your response and the amazing amounts of sarcasm you put into it (I’m in sarcasm withdrawal since moving to Canada).

    • Lisa Barone

      I try not to let myself react to them either, but it seems there’s been a surge in stupidity lately aimed at women and it was all driving me a little mad. That Inc article just pushed me over the edge, attributing random personality traits to gender.

      Sarcasm is the only way I can deal with everyday life. ;)

  • Casie G

    I am so glad you wrote this!!! I literally drafted a rant of a post the other day about how I keep reading the same crappy there are no women in tech articles and what should we do and blah blah blah. Then Inc comes out with their article to take the cake.

    Look at the search industry and tell me there aren’t very many successful or “driven” women . Bulls#@t. Thank goodness we have people like you and the outspoken team to put them in their place :)

    • Lisa Barone

      Hear, hear!

      It boggles my mind that these articles are still written and that places like Inc. Magazine are rehashing a conversation that’s no longer accurate and infantizing women. There’s no meek people over here and have a whole office filled with women.

  • Farah Timsah

    Wow! This article made me smile and laugh and do all kinds of expressions. I am a woman, I am human before everything. Most importantly, I know for sure that women who underestimate themselves and other women do so because they are internally trapped in deeply held social issues. I am a women in the Arab world. I am Lebanese. Although society here restricts the role of women much more than in the developed countries, I breathe strength, live power, and aim for the best…nothing less.

    • Lisa Barone

      Wow, thanks for stopping by Farah, we’re proud to have you here.

      I know for sure that women who underestimate themselves and other women do so because they are internally trapped in deeply held social issues.

      Wow, how true is that statement. Congratulations on being stronger. Or…should I say, I’m sorry you’re doing it wrong? ;)

  • Ed Tennant

    I think I know the problem. You stopped aging. Likely around 12 years old. See at 12 girls are physically and mentally superior to boys. Then something happens. I’m glad you skipped that second part. I hope my daughter follows your lead.

    • Lisa Barone

      There’s a degree of truth to that. Around age 12 is about when puberty hits and everyone’s brain and value gets all wonky. When you stop being a kid and become an awkward adolescent. Some people never quite recover. :)

  • Hillary O'Keefe

    Very well said, and thank you for saying it.

    One thing though – you forgot to apologize for your impeccable sarcasm. There’s probably a rule against that somewhere.

  • Sue Reddel

    Apology accepted. I guess myself and all the great technology ladies I know in Chicago need to get in this line too. Always surprised when editors print this kind of writing when it’s so counter productive. But I guess that’s the point. Back to the “housework”.

    • Lisa Barone

      That’s really my issue – when people post stuff like that, especially “reputable” sources, it pushes the conversation backwards and its simply not helpful.

  • Hugo

    Well done and I definitely plan on sharing.

    I will say this much, though; no matter how equitable my relationship is with my wife (who also makes a mockery of the article and roundtable your referenced) I can definitely say that she bears more when it comes to our son.

    I spend virtually all of my non-work time hanging with my boy and love doing so (trying as it can be at times) but I’ve learned that despite this, my wife is still the main focal point of his life and attention, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    If anything, it says that much more about many women out there, who can debunk the nonsense you’ve referenced while still being the centerpiece of a young child’s life (not an easy thing to accomplish).

    Never mind that she had to carry around and give birth to that little monster!

  • steveplunkett

    Lisa.. be yourself.. please.. it’s why people read.. your personality.. and attention to detail.

    (insert expletive to people who wish you put you in their box instead of letting you make your own) them…

    At the end of the day, only you can judge if you are doing it wrong.. they obviously are.. they are separating people based on gender.. fools.. there are lots of smart women in our industry.. most of them working instead of reading crap about women in tech that doesn’t fit with what “we” know to be true…

    we have lots of VERY smart, VERY capable females in our industry.. my boss is one.. wait.. BOTH my bosses are women and super smart.. and the two girls working with me are too..

    geek chicks are hot, cool, smart, funny.. and some make more money than me.

    p.s. we can’t right every wrong on every blog.. sometimes we must realize we have work to do. sometimes it IS our work.. =)

  • pmac

    Now that you are finished that rant, I would like a sandwich.

  • Steve-O

    I fucking love you. lol. :)

  • Tess

    Eff that, I’m not apologizing for being a strong, smart, talented & passionate woman who’s not afraid to speak her mind. And No, I’m not going to say “sorry,” not even sarcastically. Because I’m not. 110% NOT SORRY.

    I’d love to see a post from Outspoken about the strengths and benefits of women in positions of power and women-run companies such as yourselves and how we women (and the men who respect us) can bolster ourselves professionally.

    • Stephen Chapman

      Sometimes, sincerity via sarcasm successfully reaches a wider audience than unremitting scorn. Then again, sometimes not! In the case of this post, I think Lisa has pulled the former off quite well — even if it somehow goes over a few heads. =)

      • Tess

        I get it… believe me, I’m pretty darn sarcastic too :)

        Would have just like something a little more constructive as Outspoken Media is a prime example of strong, smart & powerful women in business, specifically the Tech field.

        It’s almost disappointing (albeit sarcastic and funny) as it reinforces (a bit) stereotypes that women are “hormonal”/”emotional.”

    • Kim Clune

      Tess, they don’t have to write the piece you describe to tell that story. They tell it by living it – out loud – every day. To write about the strength of women just means they are somehow separate from men once more, ultimately asking “Are we past this yet? Are we better yet? Have we beaten the stereotype?” without saying the words. The only way to move beyond perceived inferiority is to be the best you can be and shine by example.

      Lisa and all you fine ladies at Outspoken Media, just keep doing what your doing. It’s ALL right.

  • Nancy Hoch

    Thank you for this Amazing reply! My favorite line is “Because the industry doesn’t just want us, they need us.”

  • Mark Frederick

    I guess I’ve been the lucky one because I have been able to work with very capable and smart women in technology.

  • Jennifer Devitt

    Awesome!!! As a women in tech, I thank you! And as a mother of girls, I applaud you!! As the suburban tech mom who got slammed on Twitter for being just that…I would love to shove this article down a throat or two. But, better yet, we will all just keep living backwards and show them how it’s done! :)

    • Nancy Kotsifakis

      Jennifer – your comment reminded me of an old joke – filling in anything for x and y – ‘how did X conquer Y?’ – ‘They walked in backwards and said they were leaving!’

  • Guy OhReally

    Well i think I’ve found the next “woman of tech” for my upcoming OhReally con! Seriously grrl, you’ve got just the spunk I’ve been seeking. Sassy, young(ish), and so far completely unknown. Perfect. The guys will love it, and maybe we’ll draw a few more ladies into the con.

    I’ll have my girl follow up… let her know your terms, and stop by when you get here I’d like to meet you in person for a minute or two before the panel. Oh and make sure to plan ahead, ok? We don’t want any of those monthly girl issues to get on the way of your career success, mmmkay?

  • Nancy Kotsifakis

    Oh Lisa, this made me LAUGH and cringe remembering past events at the same time. I retired as an Air Traffic Controller – met all kinds of wonderful men that worked alongside me and respected me – as you mention – everyone is doing a good job and not posturing – so you gain respect!

    Unfortunately, I met a few that could not stand women making the same money as men – despite the posters claiming no discrimination, the yearly lectures – somehow these few did exist in supervisory levels and made life miserable for women by intimidating us, holding us to different rules than their buddies, etc. Management turned the other cheek, and when I could retire, I did – despite letters and meetings with management, they just did not want to confront this problem. Self employment – that is what I am wanting to achieve!

    I never tried to be ‘one of the guys’ – though I saw some women do that. I never tried to ‘one up’ anyone – though some women did that – and I never checked the boxes of advancement while hurting those around me – and I saw some women do THAT (last one was consistent to men and to other women). You and many others have been raised to do their best despite gender….and know that nothing is impossible! Women who were not raised this way need to see your example, as you brought out this article did not advance that example at all – in fact it didn’t really offer any help.

    I do want to add that in my experience I have noted that women communicate more easily – especially emotions and caring – many are teachers because of this. I was often paired to work next to men that threw pencils and tantrums – none of the guys wanted to deal with someone else ‘communicating’ in tantrums, and I just knuckled down and worked in whatever condition they sent my way. The communication of emotions and thoughts just seem so obviously geared to interacting with social media and blogs. We all know of great male poets – and also some great male and female teachers, bloggers, PEOPLE. Curiosity led me to the original article you referred to, and it really didn’t trigger anything out of me – but your satire sure did! I am grateful for you and Jill and others who lead the way as I start myy new career with web design and SEO. Thanks for opening my peripheral vision here – and for the great article!

  • Nancy Kotsifakis

    …just wanted to clarify my 3rd paragraph last sentence…I meant to refer to the original article about leaving blogs to men – I did not mean your article. I loved your article!

  • Stephen Chapman

    For a serious reply now, I think the notion of feeble-minded women in the workplace (or any other place, for that matter) is a diminishing one — especially in technology. I say that from a perspective of personal experience/observation; not from being well-versed on the statistics of the matter. So, despite my potentially gross ignorance on the reality of the topic, I find my views skewed by the fact that I’m surrounded by smart, intelligent, and capable women — be it in my personal life, with my coworkers, within my Twitter stream, etc.

    Now, I know the world is SO much larger than my narrow periperal, but even if only for the vocal few like you, it seems to me that your voices are getting louder and louder. This is a good thing. Also, I have to thank you for not alienating the men around you (from those you know to those you don’t) who are sitting outside the “man box” and are wholly interested in human beings being allowed to be who they are based on their talents and interests; not their gender, sexual preference, race, etc.

    My enjoyment of your brilliant sarcasm aside, I think the deeper message you’re sharing shines through nicely and should be read on a far greater scale than that which prompted it. Cue the sharing of the readership! =)


  • Kate O'Neill,

    “Math class is tough! I love shopping!” – Barbie, circa 1992

    Women truly don’t have the same socializing conditions or the same circumstances on average that men do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t excel, compete, and generally kick ass. You, of course, do kick ass, as do many phenomenal women in tech. I don’t think we should stop thinking and talking about how to provide better pathways into successful tech careers for young women, but there have long been and will continue to be strong, exceptional women like ourselves (well, yeah!) who find our way there regardless and shine.

  • Erin Jones

    Glad you’ve finally realized your place. Now get back here into the kitchen with the rest of us second-class citizens!

    Loved this, and thank you for being a great example of a strong female in business -not just the tech world.

  • Marian Mangoubi

    I LOVED your response. You so eloquently said what I was thinking. Thank you.

    I hear you on the women in tech. Each time people focus on this, I ask myself if the writer/panelist bothered to even look around and see those who are there. I finally got so tired of people asking/saying where are all the women in tech that I’m now creating an online news site to highlight the marvelous gals out there doing amazing, innovative things in the space and to provide a female perspective on tech. :)

  • Margie Clayman (@margieclayman)

    It’s interesting, this divide among women, isn’t it?

    Karima-Catherine tweeted a link to a Wall Street Journal article last week that similarly blew my poor little girly head to smithereens. Those brilliant folks must have been drinking the same punch as the Inc folks because they decided that:

    Women lose ambition before men
    Women seem really driven at first, but then their ambition sours
    Women like part-time jobs better than full-time jobs (gah, full-time jobs are like, so totally worky!)
    Women “like to live life more” than men. In fact, we are so desperate to spend time with our kids that we lose all interest in work right away (I guess since I currently don’t have kids it’s okay for me to like working)

    We can’t really rail against men for gender bias when we’re shooting each other down, can we? I see so many divides among women. Women who are stay at home moms look with crinkled brow at women who are totally and 100% dedicated to jobs sometimes. On the other hand, sometimes women who are busy in the business world look down their nose at women who prefer to stay home with the family.

    We need to get our crap together, yo. Simple as that.

  • LCreasy

    Well, hallelujah!

    I’ve been saying this since whiny Anita Hill made herself a victim. Thank you for making me realize I am NOT crazy.

  • Sabre

    I had a flash back after reading this of myself at 17, in my underwear, dancing up a storm to Independent Women on the radio.

    Thanks, for that.

    Also, as humans we have this flaw where we like to blame others for our failures or misguided notions. The truth may be that discrimination exists in this world…but it’s your choice to let it hold you down. It’s also your choice to use it as an excuse not to learn.

    If you suck, it’s not because someone is holding you back. It’s because you’re letting them.

  • Joel Libava


    Lisa, you seem pissed.

    You’ve been doing a great job; your writing is fab, your attitude-and I do mean attitude-rocks, and you just keep doing the do.

    I guarantee that you have really pissed off the “old school” crowd now.

    Better watch out. I can barely hear them now.

    For me, I don’t look at business partnerships-alliances, whatever in a gender way, at all. I look for smart, fiery, people who really get it, and that are ethical and sincere. (Not selfish, either.)

    Male or female. If a St. Bernard could teach me how to get 1,5000 visitors a day on The Franchise King Blog, I’d let the doggy do it.

    The Franchise King®

  • Christina Trevino

    Thank you for being a great leader! Thank you for stating what seems so obvious. I’m surprised that after a half century of the battle of the sexes, that some people are trying to re-generate the battle. Both men and women are socialized and stereotyped by media. Are women buying into it? Are men? The gift of living at this time in history, is the vast amount of choices available to everyone. We can choose to follow or purchase only from constructive and healthy media sources. We can dismiss and speak up against destructive practices. Thank you Lisa! If they continue – Boycott them. Destructive media is fueled by fans and promotion. We can follow and promote great leaders (both men and women) in our actions, words, buying power and promotions.

  • Pam

    Wow, great piece Lisa. Women continue to make strides everywhere, and you are absolutely right, for each step forward, another high-powered woman seems to “want to” take us 2 steps back.
    Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a great women’s networking and leadership conference, called Key 4 Women. Panel members were all women owners of highly successful small businesses, and workshops were all about expanding presence and balancing it all.
    One workshop was delivered by an Executive Coach, who works with mostly male clients who are trying to be more outspoken and forward thinking. Imagine that! I asked that question – because I was dead curious – and when she answered almost 75%, I was stunned.
    No, we are not getting it wrong. And you certainly are not either. Part of my day job is to to talk to youth about the many exciting career paths available to them today, that did not even exist 20 years ago. And I am always talking to 9th and 10th grade girls about “Women in tech”. You are so right – women in tech are not just needed, we’re in demand, and the young girls need outspoken role models who will continue to push, and ask questions and challenge assumptions.
    And we need to encourage those girls to contine to be excited about math and science, and critical thinking. It doesn’t make them “less cool” or “less attractive”. It makes them embrace all that they can be.
    Kudos to you! Perfect piece. You go girl!

  • Cecelia

    Love this. I’m not sure who gets the credit for this (my parents? my school? myself?), but growing up and even now it really never occurred to me that being female was something to overcome. It’s bemusing when I encounter someone who’s like “Look at this thing you accomplished! And you’re a woman!” Like I managed to climb a mountain with no limbs, or something. I know smart women, dumb women, shy women, loud women, ambitious women, complacent women, just like I know men who have all those same characteristics. It baffles me that people don’t get this yet.

    I also get the same thing sometimes with being Hispanic. People always think I must have this great back story about how I grew up in the ghetto and turned away from a life of street crime to put myself through college. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and props to those that do, but just because I’m brown doesn’t mean I didn’t grow up in the suburbs.

    • Lisa Barone

      I get the same thing because of my speech issue. People compliment me on being “brave” and having “overcome” something when, really, my lie has not been the uphill battle people so readily assume it was. I might even say it was privileged.

  • Le Juge SEO

    You forgot to mention women have a lower salary in average .. Sorry ladies not my fault … Anyway very funny article!

  • A Woman You've Met

    I sincerely applaud you for all the success you’ve had, and your unabashed pursuit of excellence, Lisa. Truly, I do. You’re a great role model.

    But I have to say, it’s a little hurtful to hear that women need to just stop whining and start achieving. It’s not that easy.

    I’ve been in the workforce for some time now and I’ve had some success. And every single step of the way I have had to fight again the constant drumbeat inside my own head that tells me how much I suck, that my opinions don’t matter, and that everyone else in the room is better / smarter than me.

    So yeah, sometimes I am meek. Sometimes I don’t share my ideas, or discount myself. I fight the impulse, but it’s hard.

    And to be clear — this is my problem, and I know it. I don’t blame you, or society, or anyone else. I just wanted to put it out there that you can’t just snap your fingers and make that ongoing internal dialogue go away. I’ve been trying for years.

  • Kim Krause Berg

    It’s easy to react to these articles but in fact, they do mean something to certain folks depending on who they are. Bravo to every woman here who stands with Lisa and just can’t tolerate any feeling sorry for one’s self or any of the excuses panels come up with regarding women’s so-called failures.

    The Inc. article meant something to my daughter, whom I sent it to, because she’s studying clinical psychology in college and is very interested in women’s research. Because she has me, the single mom who started a business while living in poverty, a woman who doesn’t achieve is a foreign concept. She was good in math and science and computers but doesn’t really like those areas. It aggravates me that the stats say women aren’t trained in tech/sciences. Yes, that’s true in America. Girls are not motivated to by the schools or at home. It’s not women at fault. They can learn anything a man can.

    In contrast, Newsweek wrote about the “beached white male”. That article was of interest in my house that has a husband and two sons. Hubby said the article was compelling. And true.

    Meanwhile, the boys in my son’s high school who are trying to get into college, and have 4.0 gpa’s and up, still can’t get into the good colleges because there’s so many of them. They’ve been told colleges aren’t looking for smart white males unless they have something else, like being an athlete. They also want women interested in the sciences and tech and other “minorities”.

    It remains true that women who work outside the home still do more of the childcare and housework, but in my circle of friends, none of us complains because we love being with our kids. Many of the moms I hang with have several part time jobs and flex hours so they can get to their kids’ sports events. They get there more than the dads do, because men don’t get the same opp’s for flex time.

    There remains in the USA a culture that puts women into the same category as cattle. I caught the news about some idiot saying women should get pap smears at Walgreen’s.

    As long as we tolerate a culture that treats women this way and continues to try and keep them down, we’ll have stupid articles on how its our fault.

  • Debbie

    I attend an event recently that discussed women in business, and it brought up a lot of interesting points. A main one was that women tend to take less credit for things than men do. Men boast about things they accomplished years ago whereas women say things like, “I was lucky” – they tend to attribute their successes elsewhere/to others. I hadn’t really considered that but afterward realized how true it is.

  • Gini Dietrich

    This is perfectly in partner with that crap article about venture capitalists not wanting to fund women entrepreneurs because of the whole baby thing. Unfortunately, it’s not just women in tech. Our grandmother’s generation fought really hard for us to be treated equally and now we’re tearing one another down. It’s unacceptable and YOU GO for standing up for all of us!

  • Michelle Lowery

    It’s a shame that some women try so hard to hold other women back, and articles like that one in Inc. are a prime example. If someone tells you you’re being too audacious, and you believe them and scale back, then they don’t have to work as hard to shine. Brilliant concept if it weren’t such an obvious BS tactic. Nice try, Drew, but you’re just going to have to step it up. Better yet, just get the hell out of our way. We have work to do.

  • Penny Herscher

    Lisa – thanks – very funny treatment of a serious subject. Women just have to get on with succeeding and ignore all the naysayers who say they can’t. I’m a successful tech female CEO (IPOed my first company in 2001, on my second now), 50, math major plus a family. I never believed I couldn’t so I just got on with it and did it. We need women to lead other women which means encourage, role model, mentor – not tear down or belittle their gender. And the harsh reality is we need to be smarter than, work harder than and compete with men as they do with each other to get ahead. That’s business.

  • Lyena Solomon

    Lisa, this is laugh-out-loud post! I enjoyed it immensely. Crying deserves a mention too (we are all emotional wrecks).

    I have been in tech for 15 years and keep hearing how hard it is for women to be in tech. I actually find being a geek easy and enjoyable. If you do what you are good at, gender does not matter. I also friend up and down – maybe, it is a result of my mood swings.

    Great post. Thanks for bringing a different perspective to the issue.

  • Cecelia

    Also, a few weeks ago I covered this event at RPI for women, called Design Your Future Day. The keynote speaker was an engineer for General Motors, and I asked her what barriers she though there were for women in math/science/engineering/technology. Her response: “I honestly think there aren’t any barriers for women in these fields, and I haven’t run into any myself. If you’re good at what you do you’ll succeed.”

  • Peter Hamilton

    Your satire is epic. bravo

  • Rand Fishkin

    I’m not always a huge fan of sarcasm, but shit… This line killed me:

    “I had no idea I was essentially creating a brothel of mediocrity.”

    The women in tech issue is definitely a complicated and frustrating one. Appreciate the levity and perspective it brings. Oh, and compliments are due on the great writing, too.

  • Charity Hisle

    I am so tired of the theory that women are weak! What a load of bullshit!

    This morning I said to my husband “Thank you for accepting me the way I am and supporting my career and goals.” You know what he said?

    He said, “Oh no, I didn’t do anything except get out of your way!”

    I’m raising my daughters to be independent, outspoken and thoughtful. There is no room for gender bias in business, and certainly NOT in TECH!

  • Bob Weber

    The meek, uneducated, woman doing household chores is about as much of a myth as the brilliant, confident man in tech. I hate to say it, but we aren’t all Don Draper. How is it that the stereotype of the average tech guy is the pasty nerd that lives in his mom’s basement until we start talking about women in IT. Then he goes from Clark Kent to Superman???

  • Jenn

    There are SO many strong points that women can be focusing on in this industry and others, why would anyone waste so much time complaining about the opposite? The article makes a good read and a valid point!
    Lyena- haha @ “I also friend up and down – maybe, it is a result of my mood swings. “

  • Nikki Stephan

    Love this! Thank you for being outspoken. Sharing this with my Girls in Tech Detroit team. They will definitely appreciate it!

  • Beth Harte

    Now I know why I have been in high-tech marketing for 15 years, thanks for making that clear Lisa. MEN in tech marketing don’t treat women this way. They give respect where respect is due. Or, I have been very fortunate to have worked with some super smart men. ;-) Why can’t women just do the same and try to bring everyone else to their meek, mediocre level.

    Side rant… What kills me is the discussion that there aren’t enough women speakers. To that I say, “Stop being lazy, fearful, boring, etc. and submit a proposal.” Funny how doing that works for me each and every time (oh, and well, having something topical and interesting to say to the industry).

    Go, Lisa, Go!

    Beth Harte

    • Lisa Barone

      Isn’t it interesting how it’s never the men tearing us down, but other women? It’s like Mean Girls of the professional world. Men don’t do that to one another. I really wish we’d stop.

      And hear, hear on the “no women speakers” thing. You always hear the cries around conference season but the reality is, more men are speaking because more men PITCH to speak. For whatever reason, women have a harder time stepping up. That’s on us, no one else.

  • Benjamin

    I think you have the right attitude about this. A lot of different people hold themselves down with that “We have so much to overcome” mentality.

  • Brittany Laughlin

    Amen! More women in tech are great – nothing wrong with diversity – gender, raise or otherwise – but I completely agree that being categorized as a ‘victim’ of a gender is nonsense. Get in the game ladies & have some fun building businesses.

    Thank you!

  • George Zarogiannis

    We are a Painting contractor with women in management and field positions. I have been hearing so much of this “women in construction” lately
    I sometimes get carried away with it too.
    About the “empowering women to….” crap, are you kidding?
    Some women in our company are more powerful than most of us
    and they earn that reputation every day.
    And some of the women are just wimps!
    So what

  • Naomi Niles

    Wow, this touched a nerve.

    I’ve also spent several years, joyfully oblivious, doing my own thing. Lately, entering new territory, I’ve been feeling a lot of pushback. I kept thinking, why’s it so hard? Am I not…good enough? Maybe I need to control this area better or get awesome at this or that.

    Then it dawned on me. I’m a woman and I’m not playing the game right. Hell, maybe I’m not even “allowed” to be here. Perhaps I’m trying to get into a club I didn’t get invited to? Hmmm.

    Rock on, you.

  • Kris Colvin

    Please don’t tell my husband other women do more housework than he does – I don’t even live with him weekdays as I take off Monday morning and head to the city to work, returning home Friday evenings (to a clean house) in time to be taken out to eat. And crap! I griped out some contractors today who haven’t delivered, and told a client the blunt truth about where things stand with their project. I am def not doing this right! I’ll write “I must be meek!” 1000x on my Tumblr. ;-)

    Great post, sister in arms. :D

  • BarbaraKB

    And don’t forget this one: we can blame who we are on our mothers. *ugh*

    • Beth Harte

      She said that? (I didn’t read it, didn’t feel the need after seeing Lisa’s post). My mom is one of THE strongest women I know and she taught me to do the same. (Of which, she is very proud!) She has NO tolerance for “whoa is me, crap.” (Trust me on this.) I can’t believe a woman could have the nerve to make such a sweeping generalization. Drew Gannon is probably one of those women who has all “men friends.”

    • Sarah Carling

      My mum once told me “The only thing you should ever ask a man to do for you is piss standing up, and only after you’ve given it a damn good try yourself” – Guess I really can blame my mum for how I turned out!

  • Michele Price

    Wow, does that mean we are also not the same people who are accused of being:

    Too Aggressive, you know Bitch
    Too Vocal, always have something to say
    Too Pushy, always trying to get ahead
    Too Big for Our Britches, always looking up

    Ok, I will stop ’cause’ (intentional spelling) that would make us like NOT Meek.

    Pardon me and bless your heart. (A southern put down)

  • Christina Gleason @ Phenomenal Content

    I think they should make Lisa Barone’s Brothel of Mediocrity a new reality series.

  • Aiden

    Oh, God. Snore. Let’s all pretend this isn’t ridiculous and call it brilliant instead. What a tired subject. Girl Power (or some shit!)

  • geekbabe

    As computers become more like disposable household appliances, consumers are becoming increasingly intolerant of elitist tech nerds who speak to them as if they were stupid. Geek speak no longer serves as an acceptable part of customer service!

    This is an awesome time to be a woman involved in IT, women are combining their love & knowledge of tech along with the power of social media. Smart brands have quickly caught on to the fact that if they wish to profit, they need to cater to women, court us, seek out our opinions and listen to the feedback provided by our reader’s & subscribers

    Women don’t want devices that just go faster, they want devices that will enhance their quality of life, SM savvy women in IT can & do help bridge that gap!

    Thank you for a great post!

  • Misty Lackie

    I don’t mind that these types of articles are written or that people have this viewpoint about women in tech. This stereotype makes my competitors not take me serious or perceive me of no threat. Trust me that has played to my advantage.

  • Danielle Smith

    I smiled and nodded from beginning to end. Well done. And thank you.

  • Brandie Kajino

    Thank you for saying this. The whining gets old to me. Let’s just get out there and make it happen. Rule breakers make a difference in our lives, and those of our clients. Rock on.

  • Jerry McCarthy

    The price of success holds with it great responsibility. So here’s some heartfelt advice. Please keep being you and giving us your take. Also keep in mind everyone has a role to play so be thankful for those who inadvertently try to smother progress. “YES” people can’t function outside of being redundant so they always revert to conforming and that’s why they never leave a mark. Our industry needs people like you Lisa so keep pouring it on!!

  • Dede

    You go, girl!! Some of the truest words ever written: “Because the industry doesn’t just want us, they need us.”

  • Angela Connor

    Hi Lisa: This was my first time reading your blog. Very well done. I love the way you made your points and appreciate your writing style. Meet your newest subscriber.
    Angela Connor

  • Stephen*z

    Thank you for a great blog. I have forwarded this to my daughter in grad school, who is also sorry for all the great success she has as a result of her hard work. She didn’t know she was not supose to be good at it.

  • Gayla Baer

    I spend a portion of time every. single. day. attempting to correct sexist mindsets from my nice little chateau here on Lake Testosterone (4 to 1 household ratio). It’s difficult enough that intelligent, strong women are stifled in their daily lives – without this kind of garbage perpetuating the continued behaviors and mindsets.

    Your response/reaction is brilliant! Thanks for making my day! I love when I find something that makes me laugh out loud :) Cheers

  • Gabriella Sannino

    Lisa, you hit this one out of the ball park! Grazie

  • Kathryn Katz

    When I was thirteen, my father told me that it’s a pity I was born a girl because I’ve got more ambition in my pinky than my two brothers put together. He felt bad that things were going to be tough for me because I was a girl and didn’t want to go into “traditional” job. But instead of putting me down or telling me that I couldn’t do it, he gave me a pair of boxing gloves and taught me to fight for what I want. (I still hit my Everlast bag in the garage when I have a bad day.)

    Yes, women still make $0.80 to every $1 that a man makes. There are still barriers in the workplace at some companies, and it’s sometimes hard to get your voice heard. But that doesn’t stop a girl from trying and succeeding.

    I guess what bothers me most about the Inc. article is that this stereotyping is coming from women. It’s bad enough that I’ve had to fight the “old boys club” here and there. But to hear it from women? Really, that’s just sad.

    I’m glad Lisa that you’re shining a spotlight on it. Never stop fighting. ;)

  • Leigh Durst

    Outstanding. Well done. Glad there are more people like me out there. I owe you a latte.

  • Tinu

    You go, Lisa. Smart way to say it – but since you did, I’m not apologizing for jack. They can all suck it if they want to keep thinking women are built the same way and need these blanket one-sad-stereotype-fits-all seminars and statistics to tell us how we should be, how they see us and what they think we aspire to, or need to aspire to.

  • F. Karans

    Some of the points Lisa makes here are good ones–women are absolutely as capable as men when it comes to the skills needed to succeed in tech. However, I don’t understand how acknowledging that an industry overall lacks female representation, and inferring from that that there may be some implicit or explicit sexism involved, should direct us to think that those who criticize sexism in the tech industry are saying that women are stupid, emotional or incapable of doing math.

    Lisa has managed to succeed where many other women have not, and where many other women have not even considered going, not because they are stupid or incapable, but because to many women, (and girls, it should be noted, who might be interested but deterred by gender stereotyping at school/home) the industry seems hostile. If Lisa wants to use anecdotal evidence of her own success to “prove” that the tech industry is dying to have women participate in it, that’s fine, but the evidence is purely anecdotal. If Lisa’s experience is true, then so are the experiences of women who have been discriminated against. She needs to acknowledge that if she wants her own experience to be taken seriously.

    This conversation isn’t unique to the technology industry. Many women believe they have successfully played the game in a sexist arena, and that if other women were simply more like them and less inclined to paint themselves as victims, they would also be successful. What Lisa doesn’t realize is that by painting women who critique the tech industry as weak-willed and ignorant, she is doing herself a disservice. It’s fun to be the “one of the boys” exception to the rule, but all it does is encourage another stereotype about women–that they’re catty and superficial. It’s very likely that the men who Lisa believes treat her as an equal see this kind of “rant” from her and think two things– (1) Lisa’s so great for telling us how awesome it is to be a man, which is what she wants to be, because she believes women who critique men are weak/stupid (2) Lisa is not one of us, because after all, she is a woman, and she could turn weak/stupid/catty at any moment.

    • Dede

      I’m not going to respond to your core points, but I do want to point out the issue of the industry needing women.

      In 2008, women received 57% of all undergraduate degrees but represented only 18% of all Computer and Information Sciences undergraduate degrees. There has been a 79% decline, between 2000 and 2008, in the number of incoming undergraduate women interested in majoring in Computer Science. (Incidentally, this stat is showing a similar trend across all STEM programs.)

      The mathematical outcome of this if we do not reverse the trend is that American businessess will not be able to find enough employees in the United States to staff their technology-related positions. So while Lisa did not point out this trend specifically, I would argue that “the tech industry is dying to have women participate in it” is fast becoming a reality.

    • Lisa Barone

      Hey, F. Karans,

      First, I want to say thank you for taking the time to really share where you’re coming from, especially as someone who disagrees. I know that’s not always the easiest thing to do, so I really do appreciate the time and effort.

      I don’t understand how acknowledging that an industry overall lacks female representation, and inferring from that that there may be some implicit or explicit sexism involved, should direct us to think that those who criticize sexism in the tech industry are saying that women are stupid, emotional or incapable of doing math.

      The Inc. Magazine article mentioned the lack of women going after math and science degrees, that women don’t give themselves recognition, that we’re still doing all the household work, etc. That’s where that sentiment was pulled from. I didn’t imagine it.

      As the comments of this post indicate, I’m not anecdotal evidence. I represent the trend in the tech industry where women are accepted, they just need to bring value. The same way a man is. I’m not unique here, I’m very typical, IMO.

      I have a hard time swallowing the “sexism in tech” argument because I’ve never met a woman who’s felt she was pushed down here because of her sexuality. And I happen to know a lot of women in this industry. We’re not talking about a handful, we’re talking about EVERY woman I’ve met. It may not be the same in other industry’s, but in this one, I think we’re very fortunate that people are based on their talent and what they bring. Trying to claim otherwise I think puts down the space that we work and creates a problem that’s not there.

      There aren’t enough women speakers on panels. Why? Because women are very unlikely to pitch themselves. I don’t know what that is, but you can’t blame a conference for OUR problem. And I’ve spoken to the conference organizers – they wan’t women on the panels. But we have to step up.

      Also, this post has nothing to do with being “one of the boys” or getting a high-five from the men. I’m not one of the boys and I have female friends. If you notice, very few men have commented on this post. It was not for them. It was for the women. It’s for the women to step up and stop making excuses and to take what they want. Posts like Inc. Magazine are actually equally offensive, IMO, to men as they are women because they paint them as being completely unevolved and incapable of working with a woman.

      If people write this post off as a “rant” (why do we never call men’s post ‘rants’, BTW? Curious, isn’t it?), then let them. Hopefully it will inspire for others. I don’t think it’s catty to point out that we’re not victims in all this.

      • Dede

        As you can see, I’m really starting to get into this topic. Lisa, I love what you’re saying and basically agree, but I wanted to respond to one point you made in your latest post. “I have a hard time swallowing the “sexism in tech” argument because I’ve never met a woman who’s felt she was pushed down here because of her sexuality.” Like you, this has never been an issue for me at least not so I could clearly identify it as such. But I did have an interesting experience a number of years ago. I was working for one of the largest software companies in the world at the time and they were putting on diversity training. I was dutifully sitting in attendance as the instructor talked about the depth and breadth of the problem. I was blown away as I’d been in the field for 12 years or so at the time and everything I was hearing was a surprise to me. So I raised my hand and questioned all he was saying. His response was that he had known me less than 5 minutes and he already “knew” that it would not be a problem for me (apparently, I too am outspoken ;-) ), but that didn’t mean it wasn’t real for the majority of other women. I shook my head thinking “Oh, what this really means, is that women ask for it. Otherwise, why would no one dare do that to me, but do it to so many others if he’s right.” So I decided he really wasn’t right. Afterwards, nearly 70% of the women in the room came up to me to tell me their stories about harrassment, sexism, and discrimination they had experienced in their jobs. It’s the last time I fooled myself into thinking that just because I hadn’t experienced it, didn’t mean that it wasn’t real and it didn’t happen to others. Just a personal anecdote.

      • Lucretia Pruitt

        “I have a hard time swallowing the “sexism in tech” argument because I’ve never met a woman who’s felt she was pushed down here because of her sexuality.”
        Just a note first – that last word? That should be “sex”. Sexuality is a different thing altogether.

        That said, i will now be the first woman you’ve ever heard come and tell you that she was discriminated against on the basis of her gender while working in Technology, apparently.

        Not a single semester that I taught programming went by without at least *one* male student commenting on the first day something to the equivalent of “oh damn – we’re going to be taught by a chick?” Not. One. Yes, every time it turned out that I was good enough at what I do that I changed their opinion through excellence.

        The first coding job I lost to sexism was blatant. A guy I graduated with, had gone through every single programming class with, had in my study group, and had often had to help understand certain concepts when they seemed a bit hard was looking for a job at the same time I was. We took the same classes – I always had the highest grade in any class I was in. We had pretty much the same profile – except for the part where I got coding much better. So I was in the final interview with Big-Company-X – they said “it’s just kind of a formality at this point – you should hear from us next week.” I asked how many people they were bringing on the team. “We are probably hiring 2 more people in addition to you.” I told my friend to apply – I even passed his resume along to HR. You know where this is going… they hired him and 2 more white males. I got told “we decided not to bring anybody on at this time.” Apparently, they didn’t realize that one of the men they hired was my friend and he told me. He even told me later that there wasn’t a single woman on their team – because the majority of the team were sexist assholes… and that it felt weird to him to be working in that kind of environment. That was during one of the *daily* phone calls from him asking me a question about how to do something. After 2 weeks, I got fed up and said “look, they hired you, not me… if they wanted my knowledge and experience? They should’ve hired me. I’ve got a coding job and I’m doing it. But while we’re friends? I’m not going to do another damn thing that helps a company that is too sexist to hire me.”

        I could go on. Those are just two experiences. But I’ve got literally dozens.

        That said? No, I never let it stop me. No, I don’t believe there’s anything that is outside of my reach.

        I’m so glad that you are pushing forward and that you’re *not* getting the sexist bullshit that some of us have had. It gives me a great deal of hope for the fact that my daughter will look at me like I’m crazy when I tell her things like this. In a perfect world? Gender is a tertiary quality when it comes to hiring, promoting, inviting to speak, and any other opportunity. I’m working toward that perfect world – it’s good to see you are too.

        • Misty Lackie

          I think female programmers (coders) experience more harshness than females in other tech fields. It’s a different ball game and I too have had similar experiences as you.

          “Yes, every time it turned out that I was good enough at what I do that I changed their opinion through excellence.”


          • Joanna

            My experiences echo Lucrectia’s, F. Karans’, and Dede’s, which I’ve posted about here.

            As mentioned in that comment, it’s wonderful that the barriers have been removed in SEO and Internet Marketing, but we have a long way to go in software and other development-focused fields within the high-tech sector, which are usually the fields these magazine articles are talking about when they discuss the shortage of women in high tech. (The BLS and other agencies put SEO and Internet marketing in the marketing category, so they’re counted differently.)

            The only way the women’s movement made progress in the past was by welcoming all voices to the table – not just welcoming the voices of women who didn’t experience gender discrimination, while telling the women who had experienced discrimination, but also wanted to fight for change, that they weren’t welcome because their testimonials of discrimination were anti-women or holding women back.

            Going forward, the only way we’ll continue to enjoy more progress is the voices and testimonials of women who’ve encountered discrimination and who have insight into how things can change for the better are also welcome in the discussion.

  • Dede

    I thought I would take this opportunity to bring out some other research that’s been done on this topic.

    The top three causes/contributors to underrepresentation women and minorities in STEM include lack of quality science and math education programs in poorer school districts (75 percent), persistent stereotypes that say STEM isn’t for girls or minorities (66 percent), and financial issues related to the cost of education (53 percent). (Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey, March 2010)

    Forty percent of today’s women and minority chemists and chemical engineers say they were discouraged from pursuing a STEM career (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) at some point in their lives. U.S. colleges are cited as the leading place in the American education system where discouragement happens (60%) and college professors as the individuals most likely responsible for the discouragement (44%). The U.S. K-12 education system falls short, too. On average, the survey respondents give it a “D” for the job it does to encourage minorities to study STEM subjects and a “D+” for girls. (Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey, March 2010)

    Women in the mathematics, and engineering have long been underrepresented in tenured and full professor positions but overrepresented in untenured and junior faculty positions, even after controlling for publication productivity and institutional affiliation. ((Sonnert, G. (1995)) These differences have not disappeared over time and today, women faculty in science and engineering are still promoted more slowly and receive fewer honors and leadership positions. (Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (2007)).

    More than three-quarters (77 percent) say significant numbers of women and underrepresented minorities are missing from the U.S. STEM workforce today because they were not identified, encouraged or nurtured to pursue STEM studies early on. (Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey, March 2010)

    In the Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV survey, women and minorities raised a number of barriers in their path to STEM careers, including: (1) Lack of mentors (50%); (2) Lack of role models (49%); (3) Stereotypes adversely affecting women and minorities (39%); (4) Lack of communication from STEM industry (39%); (5) Self doubt (35%); (6) Cost of education (31%); (7) “Sense of isolation” (29%); and (8) a lack of solid math and science education in poorer schools (24%).

    My personal preference is not to whine about it; it’s do attempt to do something about it. As an entrepreneur and a successful executive at some of the Washington DC area’s fastest growing technology companies I currently chair the Women in Technology Education Foundation and partner with Women in Technology (nearly 1,000 members strong) to encourage girls and young women to pursue successful technology-related careers. Regardless of the reasons people put forth about WHY this problem exists, the fact is that it does and it’s going to take some real, concerted effort to reverse the trend. The American technology workforce depends on it.

    • Tess

      AMEN, Dede :)

      as you said “Regardless of the reasons people put forth about WHY this problem exists, the fact is that it does and it’s going to take some real, concerted effort to reverse the trend. The American technology workforce depends on it.”

      I’d love to see the smart, savvy & powerful women of Outspoken Media put forth “effort to reverse the trend” and post something about the qualities of the women in their company in regards to how and why it helps them be successful.

  • Nick Ker

    Excellent post, now what’s for dinner?

  • Kim Krause Berg

    Dede…many thanks for posting all that! I love and admire Lisa’s energy and that of so many women in the marketing industry. Maybe they’ll never experience what I did, being over 50. It bugged the hell out of me that my working peers were 90% men and any women on my teams (in the usa) were from Russia, Korea, China and India. Several of them worked here until they became wealthy, in their terms, and went back home.

    I recently attended a ceremony held for inductees into the National Honor Society. The kids were evenly split between girls and boys, all of them very smart. The keynote speaker was a local man and at the end of his talk he got very serious about women in tech. He said there’s simply not enough emphasis in our schools to teach them and pushed for changes and support to inspire more women to study and work in math and science fields.

    Maybe we women in the marketing and related industries can start up a scholarship fund or awareness/educational campaign to motive, teach and inspire more women to enter these fields.

  • Katherine Ann Rowlands

    Bravo, Lisa. This is just the kind of discussion we need more of. Check out Journalism & Women Symposium for kindred spirits: http://www.jaws.org.

  • Glenn Friesen

    Ahem, deductive fallacies …!!?

    I could go on and on about how unscientific, fallacious, and poorly reasoned these articles (among many) are, but I won’t. I’ll leave it to you to try to reason how the argument in this citation from the INC article backs up the conclusion:

    “Seventy-one percent of the daily active fans and users on Facebook are women. Sixty-two percent of all the sharing activity is driven by women,” she says. “With these facts, women have not only an important, but I think, a critical and valuable role to play at the founding and executive table of tech startups.”

  • cherry woodburn

    it’s a great sarcastic post with truth to it. But just as all women are not meek and afraid to speak up, not all are willing to speak up – most of which is acculturation. There are also barriers and prejudices which are real. It’s ridiculous to overlook those or act like they’re not happening because they haven’t happened to you. Gross generalizations are just that, gross. Check out this site from 2 young female reporters at Newsweek. Very interesting facts and if you look far back enough interesting to here their stories of discrimination. Two women who thought that was long gone.

  • Lalit @ SubmissionWork.Com

    One Word – Awesome.

    Showing your different face, showing your strength and determination.

  • Sarah

    Nice work on the letter to women in tech. Interestingly I often get asked in the UK and Europe to do quotes for news articles and papers. What I have learnt is that they like to publish the doom & gloom but rarely want to write about triumphs and positive change.

    Last month I challenged a room full of PR “experts” at the PRCA who were talking about the future of PR so I asked them does the future in PR still include out dated stereotypes or will they move forward beyond that. Their response was some what disheartening, without data they would still make the assumptions and their “clients” won’t pay for the research behind the data to prove a case. AKA pr is LAZY. So the messaging is also lazy. Even if this data was made available to them for free they probably wouldn’t even look for it. I was shocked and amazed.

    So it looks like some of the positive spin that we try to put on Women and Tech will get blocked by these traditional stereotypes today and in the future by the press and PR folks who really don’t know or understand our industry sector. But do the businesses even realise this and how it affects those who may otherwise consider a career in technology, science or engineering?

    There are plenty of positive facts out there about how women are creating a solid foundation these days in the technology industry and breaking down the expectations and silliness that you speak of in your letter. These things are done quietly and without fuss as you have shown! But in some ways doing this stuff quietly seems to be part of the problem as no one notices the meek and mild mannered unless someone points out their achievements (with a business or in public).

    I don’t think we need to act like men but I do think that maybe we need to put ourselves forward for speaking opportunities, be bold with the press when we want to be heard and become the role models of today! After all Bill Gates and co are pretty much at retirement age now so it’s time for new blood to take the technology reigns to lead and inspire!

    Keep up the good work!

  • Lucretia Pruitt

    I love the discussion this has resulted in. I also love that you helped a lot of women realize that they aren’t alone.
    Hang tough – keep making people notice – make tomorrow a place where we laugh at the idea of sexism entirely. It’s a good goal.

  • Jahnelle

    Hi Lisa – A good dose of heavy sarcasm is always fun to read. I’m a lurker here; I read, laugh, nod and go on, but not today.

    You know, I followed the links in this article and read those pieces, then the comments on the pieces and – well, I think I’m in shock.

    Somebody commented here that your response just further shows how hormonal/emotional women are. A woman says this. Yet, I’ve known women in my life that show less emotion than a stick. I’ve known men who are more emotional than I’ve ever been.

    -And since when has hormones been an gender issue? Ask a doctor about 16-year-old boys and why they act the way they do. Guaranteed, the answer will be “hormones”. Last I heard, they happened to everybody.

    The “gender issue” always surprises me when it rears up. I’m a 34-year-old mother of 5 kids. I’ve built concrete walls and dug trenches when a few hills at my house needed shoring up. I worked for a tree service as a groundsman (it’s not called groundsPERSON or any of that PC crap) for three years, throwing 300lb logs around. My MALE boss didn’t bat an eye when he hired me. He called me in before my coworkers because I was good worker – not because of my gender.

    I’ve been a partner in a successful woman-owned business for four years, and have been running my own side business for five. Both are in the tech field, by the way ( Oddly, none of our clients have been bothered in the least that we’re women). I’ve had hard, dirty jobs, sit at a desk jobs, on my feet all day jobs, and not a single time did I ever feel cheated or unfairly given a raise because I was a woman. I work long hours, often up to 15, 16 hours a day; I make sure I take Saturday off – the rest of the week is work.

    In short, being a woman has never been an “issue” for me. It’s always just been a fact. Like having brown hair is a fact, or blue eyes, or being tall. I’m not trying to stand up for women’s rights; I’m not trying to be “one of the guys” or “one of the gals”. I don’t mind at all that my daughter says, “yes, sir” to me when she’s being respectful. I’m not going to change the language I use so people aren’t offended (It’s frickin chairman of the board, people, not chairperson. This isn’t an attack on gender, this is English 101).

    I’m just me, doing what I have to do when I have to do it to take care of my family, just like you, they, him and her – and THAT should surpass all gender.

    Thanks for listening, I enjoy your blog, and can’t wait for the next outspoken article.

  • Roger Lear

    For goodness sake Lisa, stop pulling your punches and tell us what you really think ! ;-)

    But seriously, an excellent post prompting a useful discussion. Like Jahnelle, I’m usually content just to read, think about and (usually) agree with what you write and I often tweet your posts too. But this is worth an explicit pat on the back.


  • Laurie Holman

    Loved the post – thanks Lisa! Can you believe people still buy that kind of crap? I mean, why don’t we all just don pearls and start mending men’s socks?

  • Michelle Robbins

    Not really the core focus, but something I read today that made me think of your post – research that looks at group dynamics , with this part standing in direct contrast to Penelope’s ignorant assumption that partnering with women is a bad idea:

    “The emotional intelligence of group members, in other words, serves the cognitive intelligence of the group overall. And this means that — wait for it — groups with more women tend to be smarter than groups with more men. (As Malone put it: “More females, more intelligence.”)”

    It’s an interesting read overall, but I found those parts particularly compelling given your post and the ensuing discussion here. Keep up the great work building a successful team at Outspoken!

  • Marie Mack

    Thank you for the dripping and fantastic sarcasm that reads precisely like something that comes from my own inside voice! lol, wonderfully put!

    I have spent a live time as “one of the guys” because I refused to live my life in the little box that is the meek, shy, “girlyness” that was expected of me. More precisely…I am unable to. I just do not fit in that little box. My personality is too big for that little box. ;) I read. I run, play, rough house (more when I was young than now of course). I study, research, do the nerd thing, explore the world around me! I speak out, speak up, and speak my mind! I overachieve, and I never apologize for any of it! I am a nerd and a geek (a source of great pride for me actually). And yes, I am a mom, and yes, I wear a dress. Some find me intimidating. Others find me incredibly sexy. some just plain don’t know what the heck to think of me. ;) Personally, I don’t much care…I am happy with myself. THAT is what matters! The old fashioned stay-at-home mom and housewife role may be perfect for some women…and kudos for them! Being a stay at home mom and making the perfect dinner and raising your children and doting on your husband and sewing and such is not a simple or easy thing. I know, I tried it for a while. It is just not for me. I need to raise my child. Cook and clean. AND do the work and Girl-Geek thing too :)