November 24, 2017
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5 Women In Tech Who Prove You Don’t Need To “Obscure Your Gender” To Succeed

By Kate Ryan


On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published a piece titled “Why Women in Tech Might Consider Just Using Their Initials Online” that quickly ignited fury across the internet. In the article, writer John Greathouse (dubbed an expert by WSJ) claimed that in order to succeed in the tech world, women should seriously think about obscuring their female identity—or lie, basically.

Not only does this reinforce sexism in the workplace, this sentiment carries racist undertones as well. Instead of attempting to address and resolve these serious problems in the tech field—a field where men hold 75 percent of IT jobs—Greathouse suggests women work around them by using initials instead of their full names and avoid posting pictures of themselves online. If this sounds ludicrous, that’s because it is.

Well, we’ve got news for you, Greathouse, powerful women aren’t buying it. Here are five influential women in tech who show that you don’t need to subscribe to outdated, sexist standards to achieve your goals in the workplace.

Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM

As the first woman to head IBM, Ginni Rometty represents the largest computer company in the world. Leading up to that position, Rometty held several leadership positions within the company including senior vice president and sales executive. She also goes above and beyond by holding banks responsible for how they adapt to this rapidly evolving digital world.

Susan Kare, Graphic and User Interface Designer

If you’re reading this story on an iPhone or Macbook right now, then you should thank Susan Kare. In the 1980s, she worked as a graphic designer for Apple and designed the famous command icon among countless other user interface details we take for granted today. Essentially, she humanized computer interfaces, which means she’s also the reason your newborn baby can use an iPad with remarkable ease. Kare worked alongside Steve Jobs, presumably without a glued-on mustache.

Ruth Porat, CFO of Google

"It's your responsibility to find him or her [a sponsor]. If your'e working for someone who isn't going to take a risk on you, get out because you're not going to change that person. That is a dead-end approach to a career. I've worked with men-I've always worked for men. As well meaning as someone may want to be, biases are deep. So you have to tell yourself, 'I'm not going to have the same opportunity unless I change bosses.' One of the biggest problems women have is they work really hard and put their heads down and assume hard work gets noticed. Hard work for the wrong boss result sin one thing-that boss looks terrific and you get stuck." Ruth Porat, CFO of Google's Alphabet, former CFO of Morgan Stanley. #LeadershipAndWomen

A photo posted by Leadership and Women (@leadershipandwomen) on

Using her years of experience on Wall Street to inform her work as Google’s Chief Financial Officer, Porat has set the bar high as a female leader and aims to make the tech market more efficient as a whole.

Melinda Gates, Co-Founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Based on her long history as a philanthropist and Microsoft executive, Melinda Gates does not see her gender as a limitation. Recently, she launched a project to inspire other women to pursue careers in tech, telling Backchannel in an interview, "Every company needs technology, and yet we’re graduating fewer women technologists. That is not good for society. We have to change it."

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg epitomizes the belief that you don’t need to hide your identity to be a powerful and effective leader. The Lean In author has written extensively about the need for more women in leadership roles and hosted TED Talk on the issue. Recently, she’s been outspoken about her grieving process following the abrupt death of her husband, Dave Goldberg. She’s brought raw human emotion into the boardroom and effectively rebranded vulnerability as a strength. How’s that for breaking the mold?


- Originally appeared at GOOD.is