This month is Women’s History Month, and it’s a chance to stop and think about the impact that women have had in history. After reading Monica Rathbun’s post on being a women in the SQL Server community, I wanted to drop a few notes.
Personally, I think this month is a good chance for me to think about the impact women have had in history. For example, after seeing Hidden Figures, I stopped and did a little research to see just how impactful women were in the space program, and how little my early education taught me that.
The more I learn across time and in different places, the more I realize how much we are shaped by the history we learn, and the more I realize how incomplete what we learn can be. We certainly can’t learn everything, but I find more and more that various minorities, genders, and even other cultures (non-US for me) have had an impact I never realized.
This isn’t to complain or chastise anyone, but rather just an opportunity to stop and take a little time this month to learn more. The Women’s History Month site might be a good place to start.
Being a Better Community Member
I’ve had the honor of knowing and working with some amazing women in this business. I hope that I have treated them as peers and the highly knowledgeable and talented professionals that they are. Kalen Delaney, specifically, was one of my heroes and inspirations early in my career, and I’ve been honored to not only meet her, but be able to call her a friend.
I’ve also seen some poor behavior, with men treating women at events like they are entertainment or potential mates, without understanding these are our peers. While being attracted to others is natural and will happen in any environment, I do think that some people, especially men, forget that they should be careful not to make others uncomfortable, and certainly not unsafe.
In trying to be better, I know that others of all genders may interact and express themselves differently than I do. I try to ensure I don’t talk over or dismiss the opinions of anyone, but certainly women.
I’ve been on panels and at events where few, if any, woman are speaking, and I do try to find ways to support others when I can. I also try to be aware of situations where others may feel unsafe and offer to help.
Mostly, I think the best way to be a better community member to women or minorities is to just be professional. We would assume a new employee at our organization was competent and deserved to be there until they prove otherwise. Just do the same thing for anyone you meet at an event and try to let go of biases and preconceived notions.