I have been an entrepreneur long before the term was fashionable. I raised 4 kids on my own while starting and running my own businesses. And while I am not at all the corporate type, I am a boss, an owner of several successful companies and often have to deal in what is truly still “a mans world”.
As an owner of a web development company, I work with mostly men in the development field. I wish there were more women and it was not so male dominated. I’ve been a web designer / web developer / project manager for 20 years and I understand the process. I understand the people. I understand developers. They are more emotional than I am (as a woman!). They need their egos stroked often. This is true for about 90% of the ones I have worked with over the past 20 years.
But that is not the problem. I have no problem relating to, working with, and hiring developers. And I enjoy it because many are extremely intelligent and are experts in their specific areas. The problem I have is when something goes wrong. When they go off task. When they completely do the wrong work. When they don’t follow the mockups and specs. As a contracted employee, it is their job to do the work as specified, and when they don’t, they don’t get paid because my company will not get paid, because the client will not be happy.
And it never fails that any time I have had to tell a developer that they messed up, they pull the sexist card on me. I have been harassed, played the empathy card, and treated like how dare I question them, kind of attitude. And my male counterparts, at least the ones I know and have talked to, never receive this kind of treatment.
Very few developers ever come back to me with “what can I do to fix it and do it right so I can get paid?”, which has always been my response. No they instead say “I spent hours on this and I need to get paid.” But the time they spent on it is irrelevant if they didn’t do what was asked of them.
You may be saying it’s not because I am a woman, they are just being jerks. But I know it is because I am a woman because of the responses. I male developer would not think to harass me if I was a man. A male developer would not email, call and text me 20 times whining about how they have to feed their children if I was a man. Honestly, playing on my motherly instinct, knowing I am a mother is something I get often. But the talking down to me, harassing me, obsessively texting me, threatening me to steal my business or website because a small module they were working on, that they couldn’t do and didn’t get paid a few hours for.
I am a strong business woman and very intelligent in my industry. I know how to deal with people and how to work with people. And I do not appreciate the sexist attitudes that comes from so many men who think they know more then me or can’t stand to be corrected by a woman.
Here’s the thing. I work with many developers and most often when something isn’t right, or they didn’t follow the mockups or specs, they ask how they can fix it so they can get paid and complete the job. But the sexism comes out fast and mean when this happens with someone who is sexist. They turn into arrogant, how dare you, I’m going to harass and threaten you, I’m smarter then you and I will take this site down, and much worse. And while I have great empathy for a developer who tries to fix their mistakes and get things right, I have none for a developer who jumps straight to the “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude. And yes, it is very much related to the fact that I am a woman.
And here is a side note on the subject. The only men who have treated me poorly and sexist are the ones in the U.S. I have worked with developers from many other countries and never have I been treated with disrespect.