By Eugenia Koo (Co-Founder, Hack’n Jill)
Recently Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gave some serious kudos to software engineer Nora Mullaney on Quora for Mullaney’s response to the question, “What advice would seasoned women in tech give to younger girls deciding to make a tech career for themselves?”
The total response thread is delightfully lengthy and filled with insights. Interestingly, the advice is largely directed at all women in technology, not merely young girls. The overwhelming message can be summarized with this: “Ignore the nay-sayers and just go for it.”
Believe in your own abilities. Demonstrate through action. Forget that you are female. To elaborate, focus on your skills, ideas, questions, answers, and goals. Dismiss what may or may not be commonly accepted stereotypes and labels. Act and deliver as an equal.
At Hack’n Jill, our hackathon attendees are doing just that – concentrating on building amazing products and services. By featuring an equal proportion of technical men and women (a ratio not yet met in the tech industry, much less engineering specifically), we allow participants to collaborate in a refreshing environment where they are first and foremost makers.
We liken Hack’n Jill to a social experiment; this is what a 50/50 ratio of men and women looks and feels like. And this can and should become a reality. To underscore, we work together. No one said women should have to do this alone, or only with other women. True diversity exists when everyone is an advocate.
There are so many opportunities to shine. If you’re in NYC November 9-10, consider joining Hack’n Jill, NY Tech Meetup, Girl Develop It and Control Group for #hacksgiving, a hackathon for social, global and greater good. Free stuff, cool prizes and an awesome venue: Etsy. Let’s do this!
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Eugenia Koo is Co-Founder of Hack’n Jill, an organization dedicated to changing the way people talk about and see women in technology and entrepreneurship. She has a background in finance and will begin this summer at kbs+p Ventures, the thematic investment arm of kirschenbaum bond senecal and partners which backs early-stage companies in the advertising and marketing tech ecosystem. Eugenia lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @itwentviral.