Don’t Turn Her Away

A recent professional event here in Chicago lead me to the realization that although the tech community is fairly progressive in most matters. Unfortunately, as recent news headlines about Uber, Google, etc regarding workplace gender biases and exploitation have displayed, the sidelining of women is an all too real and unfortunate state of affairs….still?

I will leave out the details of the incident, but suffice it to say that a female colleague with all the qualifications, education, experience and grit necessary to engage in a professional dialogue with a representative of a Fortune 100 organization was essentially brushed off by a male representative of that organization. Needless to say that the company in question comes from a far East culture known for male corporate dominance and passive female roles. That’s saying a lot, considering my cultural background is known for wrapping women up in large blue sheets with only a mesh screen to look through.

Being a new father of a precious little baby girl (Iman; Arabic for Faith), I am now even more of a proponent for the fair, just and honorable treatment of women. Coming from a household where my childhood was spent being beat up and simultaneously nurtured by a handful of strong, educated and independent women (mom & sisters), I can’t help but feel for women who have a less than appreciated experience, whether at home, in school, the workplace or throughout our society.

This New York Times opinion piece by Dr. Lisa Damour hit home. Perhaps, the issue is that as a society we have started to push our girls so aggressively at a young age that they become paralyzed by their own work ethic. This either results in burn-out or, as the author points out, a lack of confidence because there is no way to be 110% prepared for anything in the work world (flash cards be dammed).

So, I’ll leave you with wise words from 2Pac:
“And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
And since a man can’t make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you’re fed up ladies, but keep your head up”…

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