Interesting perspective, although the author seems to be dismissive of other people’s experiences. Having had a supportive environment from day 1, she then makes an appeal for people to stop being supportive to others who may not have had the same environment? And this based on the claim that some attempts at support are harmful, but how that’s harmful is not explained.
Also, “it’s not a problem in South India so it shouldn’t be a problem elsewhere” is not a very compelling argument. It seems he author has had a largely positive experience free of discrimination, and doesn’t understand people who have experienced bias. At the very end is an appeal to some kind of gender-blindness. Unfortunately that only works in environments that are already free of bias. In a biased environment, being blind to differences will lead to ignoring the existing bias.
Perhaps I would understand the author better if the points were more fleshed out, but as it is there are glaring gaps in this analysis.
Maybe walking up to someone and saying “Oh I really wanted to listen in, because you are the only woman here” is sexist no matter what culture you’re from.
I can definitely appreciate the argument that anti-intellectualism in America breeds the kind of high-school cheerleader/quarterback gender stereotypes that come back to bite all adults in their professional lives.
I read this as another “here is my personal experience” post. It’s a nice reminder that as more effort is made to bring under-represented groups into the field we also need to be careful not to set lower expectations on those individuals as engineers or treat them differently than we would any other engineer. Things can be done with events and organizations in terms of pipeline and making sure groups are represented, but those individuals probably don’t want to be picked to speak or have an audience simply because of the color of their skin or their gender.
It’s a difficult balance to achieve, but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. This is a problem about people, so the only way to move forward is by understanding the people affected (and everyone else in the equation for that matter) to the furthest extent possible.