Young girls are told a lot of things, whether purposeful or through less direct avenues like advertisements. Rebecca Parsons, CTO of ThoughtWorks tells girls, who are interested in STEM, that they aren’t weird.
She is quoted in a 2014 ThoughtWorks blog saying “If you love math, science, technology, or computers you are not weird, you don’t need to apologize, and you should just go for it. You have found your passion, and that is extremely important.”
According to Parson’s LinkedIn profile she completed her Ph.D. in computer science from Rice University in 1992. That was the same year the Mentos commercial where a (most likely) professional woman’s high heel breaks and she loses her balance in front of a good-looking businessman eating lunch. Gasp. Luckily girls are now doing science experiments with Mentos, but they still can’t get away from that Diet Coke (It’s part of the experiment).
Parsons started at ThoughtWorks in 1999 as a senior developer. She has varied experience from academia to working within several IT industries including telecommunications and emergent Internet services.
In the earlier mentioned blog, Parsons, who has seen the evolution of the software and tech industry, believes there are still biases when it comes to hiring women or their promotions. She says that people still look for people who are like themselves when making hiring decisions, even if they don’t realize it. In turn women may feel they aren’t accepted.
“This needs to change. One necessary change is to accept that one isn’t evil for having a bias, as we all have them. The evil comes from not acknowledging the bias or refusing to mitigate against it.”
ThoughtWorks is a software development company that started in Chicago but has grown to employ over 4000 in 14 countries, and their client base covers it all, from large retail corporations to social impact nonprofits.
From all of us at 7CTOs, thank you Rebecca for setting the record straight. Science girls aren’t weird.