Women stick together. Or do they?
By Danah Westropp, CEO and Founder of Pickle.
I recently came across an article about women empowering each other which instantly got me thinking. Thinking what exactly? Thinking what a load of BS. My personal experience tells a story of a reality that is far more bleak.
I guess throughout my life I have never really had that much support from women.
I was never a girl’s girl and, as far back as I remember, for some reason, girls never took a liking to me, I just seemed to naturally get on with guys more. There was no pretense, no bitchiness and that made things a lot easier. It was never that straight-forward with girls.
Looking back now, perhaps it was those experiences that helped shape the way I am today, so I guess I have them to thank in some way or the other.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that all born with bitchiness swimming in their DNA. One thing however is for certain, the ones immune to this virus have one thing in common; a certain comfortability in their own skin.
Too often, especially within the tech industry, we hear stories about women fighting ‘for’ as opposed to ‘against’ each other.
There are boards, clubs, panels set up so that women can help each other through discussion, make business connections and have access to closed doors in this male dominated field.
But, I am sorry to say, having approached over 25 women who voice a stand for female empowerment in business and tech, each of them champion ‘helping other women succeed’ as a personal mantra to anyone who will listen. Out of 25 women not a single one even extended the courtesy of a response. Why is that?
Competition? Jealousy? Appearance? Queen Bee syndrome?
Is the business/tech industry suddenly so saturated by female entrepreneurs that you can’t even hear out what I have to say… I mean, women are not known to be the nicest to each other, but being ignored and overlooked, draws parallels to the high school cool kids table where you weren’t invited to sit at if for no reason except that you were deemed unworthy.
Men, on the other hand, will at least hear what you have to say, even those with the highest positions/titles will take time out to help. So why won’t these women?
Do we still judge a book by its cover? A part of me wonders whether I was being ignored by these women because of preconceptions of who I am or what I look like… Or maybe my educational accreditation or lack thereof makes me undeserving of a mere reply?
Women make up only 28% of the tech industry, with that number dropping to 5% when you consider the women in leadership positions. The odds are already against you to succeed, so when you throw in the unnecessary gender politics from women who claim to support each other, but intentionally shut you down when you ask for help, it gets even steeper.
So who’s left in the diaspora of things? Women who have the thickest skin! Which might not guarantee a likeable score card but goes a long way in pursuing the journey of becoming a successful CEO. It seems as though as women, although we continue to evolve and claim our rightful stakes in the business world, a lot of our attitudes have failed to evolve with the process.
We need to change our attitudes towards each other if we want the problems we all face as women as a collective to change. Here’s to hoping that we challenge each other enough to change… soon! Because, the way we are currently it’s a blessing that there are more men than women in tech.
Words : Danah Westropp
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Daneh was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to England during the Iran-Iraq war with her mother and sister when she was 8 years old. Having grown up with a lot of adversity throughout her teenage years, Daneh came to the realisation that to escape this she would have to change everything around her. Daneh decided to leave school at 15 and left home, a decision which would ultimately lead to the creation of Pickle.
Daneh went on to establish herself as an artist and freelance designer, her portfolio span would range everything from graphic designs to oil commissions for private clients. Reflecting back to her troubled years and the struggles of making it on your own, she resonated with the difficulty young people face today to earn money based on their skills. So, she set about creating Pickle ‘a money making social platform that connects those who dream and dare with those who can do’.