Oct

3

I’m pretty certain that I’m a woman in technology.

Last night, I was using SAS on a virtual machine through a remote desktop connection to prepare data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey for use in examples of MANOVA and multinomial logistic regression.

Today, I was working on improving animation in the Javascript for a browser-based game that leads into the 3-D portion of an adventure game I designed to teach fractions.

Next week, I will start on a contract to completely re-do the PHP/ MySQL database for a client to bring it to something more secure and up to date.

Oh, and I also was reviewing my notes for the graduate courses in biostatistics and advanced multivariate statistics that I’m teaching this fall.

Pretty certain that by any standard – writing code, founding companies, graduate degrees, university appointment, successful Kickstarter – I am definitely a woman in tech/ STEM whatever the day’s buzzword.

I read SO many articles, blog posts, tweets about the need for women in tech, women-led start-ups, women entrepreneurs.

If you ask me, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is the greatest proponent of women in tech that there is, because they have actually put up money and funded us to do a prototype of an adventure game that teaches math.

When results from that were positive, they funded us again with a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award to develop the games for commercialization.

I have written here before about the troubling nature of the Black Girls Code, Latina Girls Code emphasis that seems to completely overlook the grown women who are here now. I am NOT saying those aren’t good programs. I assume they are but I have no personal experience. What I am saying is pretty much what I said in January.

It seems to me that when people are looking at minorities or women to develop in their fields, they are much more interested in the hypothetical idea of that cute 11-year-old girl being a computer scientist some day than of that thirty-something competing with them for market share or jobs. If there are venture capitalists or conference organizers or others out there that are sincerely trying to promote WOMEN who code, not girls, I’ve never met any.

(Since then, I have met a couple of conference organizers.)

I suppose Ada Lovelace was cool – my two-year-old granddaughter has a shirt with her picture on it. Still, I don’t think a trending hashtag of #fuckyeahadalovelace did anything for me as a woman in tech.

Fish Lake artwork

You know what helped me as a woman in tech? Seed money from the USDA. You can see what we did with it here at our 7 Generation Games site.

One thing Sheryl Sandberg got right in her book, Lean In, was that women tend to be judged on their accomplishments where men are judged on their potential. Of course, you also don’t want to be “too old” to be an innovator so by the time women have those accomplishments, they are past their prime as entrepreneurs according to those VCs who believe that people over 30 are too old to do a start-up.

It’s hard for me to complain about my life when my morning starts out with reading technical books with lines like, “Figure 1 shows the sprite with the red and green blood particles for player and zombie”.

My point is that our company is in the situation we are in not because of any “help minorities code” program but because USDA and our backers on Kickstarter gave us cold, hard cash to develop our products.

Want to help women in tech? Back them on Kickstarter. Buy their products. Tweet about their products and companies to help their marketing. Invest in their companies.

USDA got it right.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 


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1 Comment so far

  1. Alex Johnson on October 10, 2014 10:51 pm

    Congratulations on the 1st and 2nd USDA grants. I hope that you get more.

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