After graduating from high school, I decided to study web development in Melbourne. I remember the first day of my course very clearly, the mingling excitement and apprehension that I felt, and the thrill of attending my first class. It was a few minutes into my first lecture that I discovered something was awry. I looked around the room at the people in my lecture, wondering what on earth was giving me this feeling. Then it hit me – almost everyone in my web design degree was male.
I’d never had this experience before and felt slightly out of place. I later realised how underrepresented women are in the information technology industry and instead of feeling awkward I began to feel proud. It’s true that times are changing, while there are a few girls like me in my computer programming and game design classes, I guess there used to be even less. It’s obvious that higher education institutions along with the government and not-for-profits are making an effort to promote women to join this heavily male-dominated field.
I learned to cope with being in the minority by befriending my fellow female students for a bit of solidarity, and also making male friends for a bit of balance. After that, I started to take this budding-feminism a little further by reading some femo literature and joining some women’s clubs. It was a great experience to meet like-minded people and show the world that yes, women too can study anything they want, even IT courses. Melbourne is one of the most progressive cities in the world, so what better place to start making positive change. I even sought out some scholarships and funding opportunities that were offered outside of my academy to help me along with my studies. It really did give me a warm fuzzy feeling to know that others are willing to help. Now whenever I find myself in a male-dominated workplace or endeavour, I’m full of confidence that I can do as good a job as they can and bring about some more gender equality in the world.