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Why there's no sexism problem in digital

Why there's no sexism problem in digital Dimple Thakkar

Timothy Leary once said, "Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition." Or maybe some women just lack inspiration. Maybe it's motivation. Do we need a new direction? Do some of us just like to make excuses for not being more successful? Mind you, all of these things could apply to men as well.

My goal here is to offer a different perspective on the topic about women and the discrimination they allegedly face in the tech and digital world in this country.

Whatever the reason may be, I don't believe in a glass ceiling. And I definitely don't believe putting men on a pedestal either. Men are not the ones who always set the standards in business: We don't need to be equal to them. Some of us are not flawed and some of us don't need fixing. What some women need is a new stance or outlook, because it's not the 1960s or 70s anymore.

Things are different now -- much different. We have access to Google, online education, offline education, women-only networking groups, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TechCrunch, Mashable, W3 Schools, small business grants, the Cloud, open-source software, smart phones, and everything in between.

With an abundance of resources, the topic of women facing discrimination in the tech and digital world doesn't seem to change or go away. What explicit obstacles are actually keeping women from acquiring advanced job positions? Is it simply because there aren't enough women interested in this industry?

Either way, discrimination is an antiquated argument and I'm going to attempt to set things straight while pointing out that ambition has nothing to do with your gender, religious background, or ethnicity. In this generation, with the help of the internet and technology, ambition is defined by how well you can do the work with a drive that is unstoppable and infectious.

If you're a woman reading this and you truly feel that discrimination is the reason you're not successful, then you might fall into one of the following categories (and yes, I know there are exceptions):

Make me a sandwich

Are you sure it's discrimination or choices? This is the woman who believes they need to choose between work life and home life where the latter wins. This could also be the woman who hasn't been able to find a balance between the two things in her life. Let's be clear: All of these are choices. Some men have these choices and responsibilities too.

As a woman, we have to realize and accept that all choices have pros and cons. Did you research your choice? Did you speak to other women, a business coach, or a mentor about the situation? Did you really think this through and consider how it would affect your personal career goals?

If this is really a problem, why not research other options? Virtual offices are the new thing. Start your own company from home using the internet, especially if you're a tech geek or digital goddess. Do something, but don't make excuses for your choices and fail to seek alternative options to keep your career moving forward. If you can admit to yourself that you haven't tried hard enough to choose your destiny, then yes, make me a sandwich (and go light on the mayo, please).

Remember: half-assed is half-assed regardless of chromosomes.

Suck it up, princess

Statistically speaking, women have quite a few advantages as business people and entrepreneurs. Here are the facts (via Forbes):

  • Women now earn more bachelor's degrees than men do

  • One third of MBA recipients in the U.S. are women, an all-time high

  • Women are starting companies 1.5 times the national average

  • Women make up 46.9 percent of the workforce

Speaking of advantages, here's a major one: The media and press often give extra attention to female executives in the technology industry. Just Google it: Look up "Sheryl Sandberg," "Arianna Huffington," or "Marissa Ann Mayer" and get inspired by their stories. Explore first-hand how the media treats them for being women and what they do.

So stop complaining and start working. Never stop learning after your education is over and come up with an intelligent solution if unfairness is really an issue at the workplace. Learn how to debate, negotiate, and be relentless. Use emotions when it is strategic. Get used to being the only female in the room and owning that position. Never settle for less if you truly know that you deserve more. Be the best at your job and lead by example. Same goes for you, men.

When I began my career at a start-up social media agency in New York, we started with about eight employees. It took less than a year to go from eight people to about 80. Most of the women at the company were in entry level positions or they were assistants (so frustrating to see!). When the time came for our reviews and a raise, the female (and even some male) employees went into the CEO's office and came out in 30 to 45 minutes. Some people tried harder and spent two hours with him. It really blew my mind away. How can a six month review be discussed in a 30-minute session? One important thing to note, this company was infamous for spending its money stupidly, which is why it went bankrupt into its second year. Instead of spending its money wisely, the founder thought it was more important to have a fully loaded Lincoln Navigator with a driver to take him about four blocks to and from work each day. This company was also notorious for mishandling its employees too.

When it was my turn to get a review, I didn't cave or forfeit that valuable time with the CEO. I knew that my work ethic and skills were hard to replace too. There were several days where I worked from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. in that office trying to FIO (figure it out) and GID (get it done).

Knowing that, I spent almost a full week doing my review. My tenacity and uncompromising determination led to a promotion to an executive position as well as a raise that made me one of the top earning employees at the company.

The point of my abbreviated story: Opting out cannot be a choice. It was either fight or deal with an intense feeling of unhappiness, passive aggressiveness, and frustration. This leads me to ask:

Is that feeling of unhappiness and frustration being mistaken for discrimination? Do some women fail to be persistent or have an uneasy relationship with power? It's definitely something to think about.

Overall, you have the power to choose, ladies: Do you want to climb the professional ladder or not?

Remember: Nice girls finish last too.

Still not seeing it? -- Dare to compare? Then get a sex change!

That's another great benefit of today's medicine and technology advancements. One can literally achieve true equality with men and find salvation! You know what they say; drastic times call for drastic measures. So, why not? Your co-workers will say, "Hey Jim, you look so beautiful today! Where did you get those cufflinks? They are so cute! How about a raise? Oh, and we're going to move you out of that cubicle and into that big beautiful office in the corner with a view!"

No one can deny you now! You've officially joined the winning team! Hooray.

The road ahead

I'm done talking about the potential problems. Let's focus some more on the solutions.

Re-commit, right now! Need help? Get the help. It's out there, but you have to take initiative. Problems really surface when we drop the ball, get off track, and fail to learn from our mistakes. Actually, seek failure and seek it fast: It's good for you. Choose powerfully and intelligently. Frustration is a choice, choose something else. Live in a solution mode!

Whether you're a graphic designer, website developer, software engineer, or hold some other position in the tech or digital world, understand that your skills are not based on gender. Leadership is not based on gender either. If you're lucky enough to be equipped with a brain and 10 fingers like your male counter-part, you have everything that you need to start your world domination.

Passion cannot be taught. It is something that we have inside of us when we are in the right circumstances. If you no longer enjoy what you do or where you are in life, then it's time to move onto another opportunity.

Remember: There is no glass ceiling, just the stars. So reach for them.

Dimple Thakkar is the CEO and Impresario of SYNHERGY MARKETING.

On Twitter? Tweet Dimple at @dimplethakkar and follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Broken Glass Abstract Background" image, "Male and female symbols, isolated on white" image, "Source code technology background" image, and "Black and white brushed grunge paint ring" image via Shutterstock

Dimple Thakkar began her career at a social media agency in New York as the Executive Director of Promotions. While there, she supervised marketing campaigns for top brands, influential Web 2.0 companies, and over 50 chart topping artists which...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Dimple Thakkar

2012, October 23

Lana - absolutely! How high are you soaring? ;-)

Commenter: Dimple Thakkar

2012, September 13

Thank you Lindsey!

Commenter: Lindsey ONeill

2012, September 07

Love the quote at the end of this article: "There is no glass ceiling, just the stars. So reach for them."

Commenter: Dimple Thakkar

2012, September 04

Thank you, Lana! I appreciate you reading and responding to the post. Would love to see your articles regarding this - can you send me some links?

Commenter: Lana McGilvray

2012, September 04


I truly appreciate this train of thought. I have written a few pieces on this topic and tend to agree with you regarding the fact that digital is, perhaps, more balanced in terms of expectations that individuals of any gender need to work ferociously and intelligently to advance. While the market is beginning to mature and we see more and more support associations and practices and standards shaping the way we do business, gender discrimination is something I have never felt much of - even in the early days. I actually felt far more sexism within the walls of a global ad agency in the nineties that I have have within the walls of the numerous digital companies where I've served. I also agree that men and women in this business have tremendous opportunities to soar high or massively belly flop!