I have another reason to love Etsy. As if providing makers with a marketplace for selling their craft wasn’t enough, Etsy is speaking about the role of women in technology and throwing in some financial support. Etsy is giving $50,000 in scholarships for women to attend summer Hacker School this year. The Etsy news post is really interesting—Etsy understands that the majority of their users are female, that they support female entrepreneurs in a big way, and that it would make sense if there were more women crafting the platform where the others sell their craft.
Regular readers and friends know that I code. I most recently wrote quiltr, and the space where technology meets craft is very interesting and, well, special to me. During much of my career, I didn’t think it was a big deal to be a woman in tech. I worked in environments where there were other female developers, and I was always hired by a woman who had also written code. I worked with great people who judged me by the work I did. I’ve spent the last nine months after our move working on my own, and observing that for the most part, the coding community is great and supportive and full of people who want to share ideas and cheer for others’ achievements. But, I’m also aware that I look like a girl, and there are little things that make me have to admit that we’re someplace behind the place I thought we were.
Recently my daughter told me that she just wasn’t a “computer person”. My heart sank a little. Not because I want her to like everything I like and grow up to be a developer just like her mom, but because she sounded just like me at her age. It wasn’t until college that I saw that computers and code were tools for creativity and self expression and for making beautiful things. Before that, I found computers to be fragile, inflexible, and dull. Have I failed to show my daughter the awesome side of code? And what I can I do about it now? Hmmm … I smell an awesome tech summer coming on.
Back to Etsy and Hacker School. Will I apply? I’m not sure. Maybe. What about you? I appreciate what they’re doing, and I appreciate the thought behind it.