What does an engineer look like?

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When Isis Wenger, a platform engineer at OneLogin, agreed to be featured in a recruiting campaign for her company, she did not expect the amount of attention she would receive.

Shortly after the advertisement appeared in the San Francisco Bay area, friends started sending her discussion threads from complete strangers commenting on her picture. Some of the responses she read "warmed [her] heart" while others "I consider to be kind of shocking".

She wrote a post in Medium on 1 August where she shared her experience as a female engineer and described some of the sexism she experiences in the workplace. For instance, when male colleagues throw dollar bills at her in the office, or when an engineer messaged her seeking to be "friends with benefits".

Image source, Twitter
Image caption,
The original advertisement

Wenger explained that the men responsible for these acts are "not bad people" but they do not realize "that their 'playful/harmless' behaviour is responsible for making other inappropriately uncomfortable."

She concluded her post with an invitation:

"Do you feel passionately about helping spread awareness about tech gender diversity?

"Do you not fit the 'cookie-cutter mould' of what people believe engineers should look like?

"If you answered yes to any of these questions I invite you to help spread the world and help us redefine 'what an engineer should look like. #ILookLikeAnEngineer".

Image source, Twitter

She posted a photo of herself with the hashtag.

Hundreds of women around the world started posting pictures of themselves along with their titles and their accomplishments.

Some men also decided to contribute to the hashtag and support women by posting pictures of their mothers, while other decided to post pictures of themselves.

Image source, Twitter

And universities also jumped on the trend - including the very technical MIT.

Image source, Twitter

This isn't the first time women used social media to combat gender stereotypes in the workforce. Last June women scientists used the #distractingissexy hashtag and shared photos of themselves at work in response to comments by Nobel laureate Tim Hunt, who said "three things happen when [women] are in the lab, you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them they cry."

Blog by Elena Boffetta

Image source, www.navalny.com
Image caption,
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