Sarah is a blogger, web designer, content creator and one half of The Smart Bear. Your go to woman for anything about website building and SEO! I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah at one of the first blogger meet ups i've been to and she was so welcoming and kind. You can follow Sarah here
"If you’d have asked me about 27 years ago what feminism meant to me, you’d have got a very different answer to the one I’d give you today. I was just starting out at Sheffield City Polytechnic and I was full of girl power before it was even a phrase. Now, at 46 years old, an IT career behind me, it occupies a different space in my head. Back in the day, being a feminist was about being angry at the world, or at least it was for me.
I was angry that I was one of only a handful of women on my Engineering IT course. I was angry that we were being told by student services to be careful walking home on our own. I was REALLY angry at a lecturer asking me if I’d plugged my oscilloscope in. (For the record I had, it was faulty and he was a dick for asking me)
I was just angry!
I’d been brought up in a relatively traditional family, in Sheffield, working class who’d got lucky and moved up the ladder. Mum was a nurse, dad was a quality control inspector. I wanted more. I didn’t want the 2.4 children and steady life. I wanted to be an architect. But then you start to hit the brick walls.
No, I couldn’t do a building studies course, because I’d not be able to carry a hod full of bricks. Girls just didn’t do that. No, no and more no. It just made me rage at why my gender had made my life so difficult. Pretty much all of the ’90s was spent trying to fight the social injustices which I felt were levelled at us women.
Working life was no different. For 18 years I was a technical analyst in a large software house. There were very few women who actually had a technical background. The percentages of women were no different in 2017 when I left to when I’d started at Uni in 1992. Now I’m a web designer, and you guessed it. There are less than 10% of web developers who identify as women.
Now I just don’t have the energy for anger. I have fought too many fights, been shouting for too long. Now I am just sad. I am sad that for some reason my gender still makes me a lesser person. I am sad that men feel so threatened by women who have a brain, worse, us with a brain that understands ‘man things’.
Please do not see this as a sad tale. I may well be sad, but the sadness is not for me. I feel sad that we’re missing out on so much talent, just because certain industries are still holding the ideas of old.
Feminism to me now is about talking. I want to share my experiences with as many young women as I can. I want them to see that the only glass ceiling is the one you place upon yourself.
Feminism now is about being you, 100%, not filtered, not hiding, just you…"
I would love to hear about what feminism means to you, if you would like to contribute to this discussion as a guest blogger please contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org