It all started with an ad campaign. The ambiguous message behind it left platform engineer, Isis Wenger, confused on whether or not she was being used to attract women or men to become engineers. Her “sexy smirk” was rather seen as a marketing tactic to lure guys into the tech industry. The response to the seemingly innocent advertisement turned into a discussion of the sexism that is still alive and well in the industry.
Wenger explains it perfectly in her post on Medium, saying, “At the end of the day, this is just an ad campaign and it is targeted at engineers. This is not intended to be marketed towards any specific gender — segregated thoughts like that continue to perpetuate sexist thought-patterns in this industry.”
It’s no secret that sexism in these types of industries still exist. Engineers, computer scientists, web designers, and others have been subjected towards gender discrimination at one point or another in their careers. However, as women should, Wenger decided to do something about it. Thus, She started the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer to raise awareness towards the gender divide that continues to exist in the technical industry.
Many took to Twitter to support Isis.
Even as a software engineer working at GE, I never stopped hearing “you don’t look like a nerd” #ILookLikeAnEngineer pic.twitter.com/KE5dnw0F4H
— Physics Girl (@thephysicsgirl) August 4, 2015
The hashtag, as Wenger explained, is not gender specific. “External appearances and the number of X chromosomes a person has is hardly a measure of engineering ability. My goal is to help redefine “what an engineer should look like” because I think that is a step towards eliminating sub-conscious bias towards diversity in tech.”
This invited men to take part to support the initiative as well:
#ILookLikeAnEngineer on @space_station. Also a scientist, medical officer, farmer & at times a plumber #YearInSpace pic.twitter.com/oSI7durPWZ
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) August 4, 2015
The hashtag is quickly breaking stereotypes about women in the tech industry. Many are often perceived as ”tomboys” or ”nerdy.” Brains and beauty may be the more appropriate terms to use in this case:
I worked as an engineer at @Intel + @Twitter, now I build features for Windows at @Microsoft #ILookLikeAnEngineer pic.twitter.com/ttGUnHseYH
— dara (@daraoke) August 4, 2015
What’s more impressive? Her pink hair or the fact that she’s a badass engineer who can still find the time to model:
#ILookLikeAnEngineer … first time a @samsung pick and place machine was in @glamourmag 🙂 pic.twitter.com/x1x5ODTrxP
— adafruit industries (@adafruit) August 4, 2015
And they make it look so. easy.
Developed an app that securely overwrites & deletes Android metadata. Now I’m a cyber engineer #ilooklikeanengineer pic.twitter.com/immzyEtfyD
— buttaluv. (@bunxgawd) August 4, 2015
OneLogin may have missed the spot on their efforts to recruit more engineers with their ad campaign, but these ladies will have both men and women wanting to pursue careers in tech in no time. Where do I sign up?