I was a hopelessly shy student who believed she possessed little opinions. And even if I did, I was very uncomfortable sharing them. While on that course, I read news every day to force myself to be even remotely able to have group discussions on day-to-day topics. That just wasn't me.
So when in the end of the course my teacher told me in private that she thought I was a feminist, I responded like so many women: I wasn't. I did not need to be. There was nothing wrong with equality. If anything, I was always just positively discriminated.
I did not think about that discussion for a very long time, but obviously years since have changed my perspective and raised my awareness on need of feminism. There's tons of wonderful writings on the problems and solutions, and my concern is still not that I get regularly mistreated, but that I've needed in many ways to be exceptional when normal should be enough.
A few days ago, I retweeted this:
Whenever I see 'women only apply for jobs when they meet 100% of the requirements, men when they meet 60%; just apply!', I read it as— Natasha Taylor (@Natashatashaetc) January 11, 2018
"organisations systematically exclude women by including 'requirements' that aren't required, and here's how it falls on women to deal with it"
Let's look at what it claims:
- Women generally apply for jobs only when they meet all the requirements
- Some women apply without meeting all the requirements and that requires them extra effort because it is against what they'd naturally do.
- When I was 10, my family purchased our very first computer, and we had different ones ever since. They always were located in my (younger) brother's room and I asked for permission to use it as budget rules gave me space. His access was less limited.
- He started working with programming seriously at age of 12 (I was 14). His friends were all into it. I coded games by typing them from magazines already at 12, but I never had a single friend who'd do that with me.
- By time we both went to university to study computer science, he had 7 years of hobbyists programming because "computers were boys toys". I had a starting interest with time spent on BBSs and rudimentary programming I had done on "Teaching myself Turbo-Pascal" as schools gave you space to learn, they did not teach anything back then. Most girls were not quite so advanced.
- Most of my university students were with backgrounds akin to my brother. I was years behind. In addition, if I ever did group work, I got told I probably did not contribute anything. Both other students but also some teachers. I needed to continuously keep proof of my contributions, or work alone when others got to work in groups.
- Any course with classroom exercises were my nightmare. There were 2% women and many teachers believed both genders needed to speak every time. I learned to skip classes to suffer less. Again, more work just to survive.
- If I was ready to get help, I had lots of the classmates helping me. Usually with the price of figuring out if I was single or not.