It's been a while since I met Sophie Alpert while watching the React documentary and then came across her article about her coming out as a trans woman in the IT field. I was delighted with her words and since then I have wanted to do the same, and today is the day. 😁
Diversity in IT field overview
The 2022 CSS and JS State Surveys show that more than half of the developers (61.6% and 70.1% respectively) who participated in the survey are men. About 5% are women, 1% are non-binary/gender non-conforming, and the rest did not respond.
Another 2022 development survey led by Stackoverflow shows that 92% (nearly 100%) of respondents are men.
So, based on these three annual reports, we can have a big picture of gender in IT and, unsurprisingly, the higher number of men in this field. And these numbers also show that we still have a long way to go to change this scenario to have more diverse work environments, but I am happy to be part of this new time, where more and more people like me are showing themselves every day. And I hope in the near future to see lots of LGBTQIA+ people taking part in these reports.
What’s gender anyway?
New research and studies are demonstrating that gender is much more a cultural construct and psychological self-perception than something that can be told at our birth just by looking at our genitals. Being transgender means someone who was assigned a gender at birth, but later discovers that they don't belong to that gender during their lifetime. So most people are cisgender, which is the opposite of trans.
"Gender refers to the characteristics of women, men, girls and boys that are socially constructed." - WHO (World Health Organisation)
If it's too confusing to understand, don't worry, you don't have to understand everything, but respect other people and the fact that there are other genders than the cisgender male/female binary.
Learn more about gender, sex and sexuality differences from Harvard.
Overcoming pronoun issues
I am a transfeminine person, which means my pronouns are she/her. And this is a good start to showing respect to myself by calling myself by the correct pronouns.
I confess that it's been a relatively quiet struggle to demand that people treat me as feminine and call me by the name I chose: family, friends, work... However, it's not that simple for all of us, and that's one of the reasons why I am writing this article: I want you to know how important it is to us as many of us take their lives every day because life becomes too difficult for them.
How to be a better co-worker and make room for diversity in IT
Below I will list some attitudes you can take to improve the work environment and allow everyone to feel free to be themselves. Of course, you should also take these points into every moment of your life.
“Over a third of LGBTQ+ people still feel they have to hide who they are at work.“ - Stonewall.org.uk
- Educate yourself. Be curious and learn from the experiences of others with different backgrounds. Books, Youtube...
- Don't assume people's pronouns. If you don't know someone's pronouns, ask them. It is much better for you to ask than to make mistakes, causing pain and frustration in others.
- Recognise your privileges and bring diversity to the table. What are you doing to make the company you work for more plural?
- Be patient with yourself. As long as you're doing your best, understand that it's okay to make mistakes, so apologize and correct yourself.
- Take action and speak up. Do not allow any kind of discrimination, racism or sexism around you. Do not allow jokes on these subjects under any circumstances.
Hello, I'm Diona Rodrigues and my pronouns are she/her.
Annual reports show that most of the IT developers are men, but we can work together to make our development community more diverse, seeking more people from different backgrounds, understanding that pronouns are important and that we can always do our best to respect others.
I'm proud to be a transgender developer and to share that with you. I hope to see more and more people proud of themselves in the IT field and I count on your help.
See you next time! 😁