Social Listening

In the past few weeks I’ve been to five professional, educational networking events focused specifically on women in technology and business. I pay attention on social media, and I keep my ear to the ground for conversations in my personal network.

Here are some things I’ve heard lately:

“I helped my daughters start a business so they’d learn that they can do anything they set their minds to in life.”

“Women CEOs can choose to create a company culture that’s supportive for women and mothers.”

“Women should learn to talk sports.”

“Women might avoid your female-focused event because they’re afraid of being marginalized for attending.”

“All of my female friends have normal jobs or babies - or both!”

“I’m not a feminist. I’m a humanist.”

“Women need to see people who look like them in STEM professions.”

“Women should focus on competency instead of gender.”

“Women-focused groups do more harm for women than good.”

“I drink a hot cup of man tears with my breakfast. It’s how I find my strength.”

With messages about women in technology and business ranging from inspiring to ironic and everything in between, it’s easy to feel conflicted or confused. Earlier this week I lamented:

Here’s what I know:

Be authentic. Trust yourself. Take risks.

Did you get the results you want? No? Try something else next time. Share what you learned.

I’m lucky that I have a strong network of humans who have a good sense of humor and are willing to support me while I figure out what works for me. Your experience is valid. The thing that helps us get past our superficial differences is a fundamental willingness to help other people.