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Eve wasn't invited: Integrating women into the Apple community

Brianna Wu | Aug. 8, 2014
iOS developer Brianna Wu looks at the ups and downs of being a female engineer in the Apple community.

It's not he, or Daring Fireball, or the Talk Show, that's the problem for women in Mac development. Rather, his show highlights the challenges women face when trying to enter this community. Gruber and the other prominent members of this community can help us by actively working harder to showcase the people who are making a difference.

It's the opportunity, stupid
Opportunity, connections, networking. Make no mistake: This is the biggest way women are unintentionally discriminated against in the Apple development community. It's not a Mad Men moment, where guys chomping on cigars joke about how broads are too dumb to code. We're simply not invited to the party.

I cannot tell you how many development events I've attended at night, at a bar, where I've been the only woman. If you're a lady in your 20s or 30s, answer me this: Do you feel like the late-night mixture of alcohol and men is a safe environment for you? It's a perfect example of networking set up by men, intended for men. There's no malicious intent behind this, but it can unintentionally exclude women who don't feel like they can attend alone without putting themselves in a potentially compromising position.

In some ways, I feel like App Camp for Girls has been the biggest equality movement to gain political traction in the Apple community. Male members of our community may feel like they support women's issues, but it sometimes takes first-hand experience to know how important equality is to our community--say, by having a daughter who's interested in technology. And I think it's fantastic that having daughters makes so many men aware of the challenges women are facing today.

But this is just the first step: Getting young girls interested in tech cannot be our only focus. A recent New York Times article revealed that women end up leaving tech in numbers three times greater than our male counterparts. Without also addressing these issues in the workplace for adult women, our girls will simply grow up and leave in similar numbers.

The right way and the wrong way
It's telling that the two most important events for female developers during WWDC took place outside Apple's conference: the WWDCGirls lunch that took place at Medium, and the App Camp for Girls fundraiser at New Relic. I met many of the high-profile women in Apple development; I made friends; and I opened opportunities for myself and my company.

These events were fantastic examples of how networking in tech should work. There was a great gender balance. There was no drunken monologuing, or screaming over a crowd. It was just women and men, gathered in small groups, getting to genuinely know one another.


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