There are challenges and benefits of being a female in IT.
There are times I do get frustrated because of some of the guys that I have to deal with. At some conferences it seems that guys don’t seem to see any female and they just think they are the only ones at the events. I have run into some guys that think if you are at an IT event and you are female you are basically in marketing or don’t know anything about IT. At one event I was actually run into by one guy because he wanted his lunch and didn’t care about anyone else. He did hear from me because I wanted to ensure that he knew he needed to respect everyone else at the event. I have a lot of fun at some events because my name tag shows me as a reseller so I do get treated as marketing by some vendors but other vendors treat me as I am in IT and I can influence the purchase of products.
There are times that being female is an advantage at IT events. At most events there aren’t many females so the lineup in washrooms are extremely short compared to the men’s washrooms. At some events I can be the only female which doesn’t bother me anymore. At first when I got into IT I was very uncomfortable being one of a few females at events but now it doesn’t bother me at all.
Some guys, who are in IT, do treat females special because of how few females there seems to be in the industry. Yes there are more women now in IT but at events it is still a very low number. I have found that I am normally treated well by most guys at events. I find that being a strong female does help me as well as I am not afraid of standing up for myself which I really think helps. As a female if you can make sure you appear confident it will go a long way in getting the respect.
Yes being a female in IT does have its challenges but it also has its advantages. My biggest piece of advice is just be yourself and most guys will treat you fairly. The other thing that helps is having some of the latest “toys” and if they don’t know about them you can pull them out and how them. This has helped a few times so now when I go to events I make sure that I have some of these new things with me.