Although being female in the tech industry isn't unusual, we're certainly outnumbered. At a large industry event like CES, there are perks and disadvantages to being a part of the underrepresented gender. The best part was networking with other savvy ladies in technology, and made the con list worth all of the trouble.Pro: Instant bonding with your female ilk. Both during the conference and at networking events, we were able to instantly bond with our female brethren. It was so nice to see so many smart, successful women in the industry, and meeting them was one of the conference's major highlights.
Con: Dealing with male chauvinistic attitudes. While sitting in a press-only area, I heard a group of guys talking about the number of females in attendance at the conference. One of them actually said (seriously), "I was wondering what all of them were doing here. I thought maybe they were in town for the Girl Scout cookie-making convention." It took every ounce of restraint to take the high road and keep my mouth shut. And these attitudes are less common among most professionals. Still, overhearing such a sexist remark was shocking and upsetting.
Catch the rest of the pros and cons after the break.
Pro: No bathroom lines. I waxed poetic about this one already, but I can't talk enough about how refreshing it was to enjoy a line-free trip to the restroom with plenty of sink and mirror space.
Con: Enduring "cute" quips about your outfit/hair/appearance in general. While wearing a pair of (flat, comfortable) boots, I walked by two seated gentlemen who decided it was an appropriate time to belt out a few bars of, "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'". While my boots were, indeed, made for walking, I didn't appreciate the comment, and I don't think they would have said it to a man.
Pro: Hangin' with the guys. Hearing comments like "Wow, you really know your stuff," or "That's impressive!" from geek guys is certainly a bit of an ego boost. (Wouldn't you feel one upon being complimented?) Carrying on a smart, respected, intelligent conversation with a tech industry male is empowering.