Women’s Traditional Roles — and Women in Tech

photo of female head with schematic drawing of a brain in gold and sparkles shooting outwards drawn across
Courtesy freepik.com — licensed

Men are supposed to be bold and brave and even brutal. Women are supposed to be calm, quiet and kind. Men look. Women are looked at. Patriarchy enforces these stereotypes. In tech that can make things especially complex.

Since I am a thoughtful person — and a woman raised on modern principles, and have been working in technology fields for quite some time — I like to raise a bit of awareness here and the possibility to adjust and walk down new roads.

The idea of the equality of the sexes is older than one would expect. But patriarchy also is rather old, compared. The concept of a culture that is based on the idea of male precedence. Yet, underneath the even older tradition of matriarchy, the tradition of female precedence can be felt, strongly.

Women are to be wooed, to be protected, shielded as it were, kept apart from the general hustle and bustle of learning and business.

In psychology and human communication research the concept of placeholding roles has become well-known over the past two centuries: Qualities one person — or gender as it were — does not want to be part of their image are ‘transferred’ to the other. The counterpart.

Thus any thing soft or gentle or emotional in men was seen as being part of women’s mindset, only.

Another interesting aspect I’d like to mention here as well: The age old tradition of women being raised, even being forced to, always have consequences in mind — because ultimately they would be left with the baby — makes them altogether more careful and foreseeing — in business and in private life. In general, that is.

Physiologically, starting with adolescence, women have a forceful nature sometimes painful to endure, to tackle with. One way or another.

All this means that the underlying principles of the above facts influence everyday behaviour, with good reason too.

The assumption being for example that with female precedence wars might become extinct some day…

Yet, most importantly: In technology the behaviour expected of men is predominant. If a woman starts entering that sphere and behaves the same way, she will be looked at with awe at least, if not askance.

Thus a woman who keeps behaving the way women traditionally are expected to behave might not be taken seriously. Paving a way in such ‘male’ spheres can be particularly challenging, more than it is for men.

Men have to prove their competence. Women additionally have to prove their ability.

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Nina Barzgaran

I am a technical writer by profession, a literary M.A. by education and a philosopher at heart…