Okay, ladies: I found myself if a position today where I made a stand for women’s position-as-such to a tech guy with this question: should tech startup award shows create a separate category to recognize female tech entrepreneurs?
And while I shoulda come out with this post before today in order to, ahem, have a broader perspective of opinions, I got busy and that just didn’t happen.
So, I want you to know, I put my foot down on behalf of women in tech, and female entrepreneurs in general, and said:
To create a separate arena for awarding women in tech is akin to saying that entrepreneurs with lady bits are separate but equal. Same award and prestige, but we’ll make a special play area for you – it’s a crutch for arriving at the podium.
Awards are recognition from your industry and peers, and award-winners can become role models. Forcing the women-only category, however, would send a sharp warning about the static and patriarchal dynamics of the tech startup scene, which I think would overshadow any role-model do-good effect.
Sure, I understand that the tech startup scene is verrrrrrrry male-dominated, from the board and management down to the entry-level coder, along with the support organs of venture funding and mentoring…. I get that.
Segregated awards are usually performance-based, like athletics. Acting and music awards also tend to offer separate trophies based on gender, though I’m pretty sure it’s just to get more celebrities into one room.
Personally, I want to see more women in tech. I want awesome ladies to fill spots from CEO to coder. And I do want it to be recognized, but equally so, and without gender clauses.
So tech guys, there are people on both sides of the gender balance with practical solutions and new structures to get more women into tech… if you want a more level playing field, a special award isn’t gonna fix it.
Photos via Ladies and Gentlemen
*this post has been altered from it’s original version