A new hashtag campaign on Twiter aims to shatter the myth than engineering is a male-only profession, encouraging female engineers to highlight their achievements on the social network.
It began when Isis Anchalee, a 22-year-old platform engineer in San Francisco a “self-taught engineer, extreme introvert, science-nerd, anime-lover, college dropout” became tired of stereotypes in her proffesion.
She apopeared in a recruiting ad for her company OneLogin. The ad sparked some sexist social media commentary from people who implied that this actual image of an actual woman who is an actual engineer was not a plausible “image of what a female engineer looks like.” She launched the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer in response
Writing in a blog she found that there was a negative attitude to women in her workplace and ended the post with a challenge:
“Do you feel passionately about helping spread awareness about tech gender diversity? Do you not fit the ‘cookie-cutter mold’ of what people believe engineers ‘should look like?’ If you answered yes to any of these questions, I invite you to help spread the word and help us redefine ‘what an engineer should look like’ #iLookLikeAnEngineer.”
And she posted a photo of herself with the hashtag.
— Isis Anchalee (@isisAnchalee) August 3, 2015
Posting under the hashtag, women working in science, technology, engineering and associated subjects have been posting selfies of themselves and describing what they do.
— Rebecca M. Reck (@RebeccaEE) August 5, 2015
— Roma Agrawal (@RomaTheEngineer) August 5, 2015
— Jeyna The Warrior (@je_vitamini) August 5, 2015
A website was set up to support the new campaign and an app for creating and sharing their photos on social media was created.
The campaign also attracted misogynist comments directed at Wenger’s appearance and doubting her credibility as an engineer. But the outpouring of support came from all over the globe, including within Silicon Valley.
Intel’s Women at Intel Network began supporting the campaign, as did various other women in technology groups, universities, software and engineering companies.
Others who also felt they didn’t fall into the “cookie cutter” mould of what an engineer should be joined in, posting photos of themselves and moving the campaign beyond just sexism and in the direction of greater diversity across the technology, science and engineering industries.