And don’t I fucking know it.
Publishing professional. Expect a lot of: Avatar: the Last Airbender, Doctor Who, feminism, and book quotations, among other things.
One of the first things I did when stuff started falling into place with my writing career was talk about it with people like it was all this questionable accident. “Yeah, I wrote a book and it’s being published,” I’d say, like it was nothing—not like it was easy, but like it was literally nothing. It was amazing how quickly I was willing to let go of the hard work and sacrifices I’d made in hopes the thing I wanted to happen would. When it did, I did not want anyone to be uncomfortable or, God forbid, like me less for my accomplishments. Before I gave anyone a chance to be proud of me, to celebrate with me, I wanted them to know I was so sorry first.
Eventually a friend emailed me and told me I could work that angle less and when she did, I realized how truly scared I was of claiming my part in what I made happen for me. It’s so sad so many of the accomplished, hardworking women I know struggle with owning their success. How immediately they will tear themselves out of that part of the picture because it just doesn’t look as nice with them in it.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is: that’s enough of that. Let’s stop.
"Listen to me closely now: The people who dare to ask for an expansive, life-altering love, who will be alone rather than settle for less, are the ones who find it. People who accept less, who figure they don’t deserve any better, who figure that it’s too much of a risk to tell the truth and scare men off, are the ones who live with a constant feeling of disappointment and neglect. When you neglect yourself and your feelings, you get neglected by others, too.
Stand up for yourself. Stand up for what you want. Does that make you That Girl?
Then BE. THAT. GIRL.
Because That Girl is a shining beacon to the rest of us. That Girl doesn’t play along and call herself whatever some dude is calling her, whether it’s “pal” or “that chick I’m sleeping with” or “her, over there.” That Girl doesn’t sit through drifty, disconnected conversations with men who can’t show up. That Girl doesn’t care if you think she’s attractive or appropriate or easy to be around or not. She’s not caught up in some dude’s love affair—with himself, with his stuff, with his fantasy of how easy and sexy and mysterious True Love will be when he finally finds it, just like a porn flick starring him with a soundtrack by The Shins. That Girl is willing to risk his disapproval for the sake of her own happiness.
Fuck the critics. Fuck the onlookers. Fuck this cold, disapproving world, that doesn’t like That Girl or really any fucking girl at all, when it boils right down to it. BE THAT GIRL."
"In my title I call each of these examples of harassment ‘inexplicable,’ even though they have clear explanations: some folks are uncomfortable with a woman making video games. Some folks are uncomfortable with a perceived feminist being involved in their video games. But “inexplicable” was really my first reaction: you mean a bit of gender swapped fan art led to backers demanding that heads roll and money be refunded? That an interactive fiction game placed on Steam Greenlight would incite an internet community that apparently believes that because they have the attention of men, women can never suffer from depression?
The emotional toll of harassment campaigns on their survivors should not be dismissed, diminished, or undersold, and I am glad that Zoe Quinn is continuing to promote Depression Quest on Steam and that Comcept has stood by Dina Abou Karam.”
The U.S. Black-white wealth gap is larger than in South Africa at the height of apartheid. The statistic is all the more remarkable when considering that South Africa virtually mandated gross inequality by law, while in the U.S. the great chasm exists “within a political economy that is at least nominally democratic” and packed with Black elected officials, including “the sitting head of state.”"
Jon Jeter, Black in Obama’s America
“The wealth gap narrowed to a ratio of 7 to 1 in 1995 before ballooning to 22 to 1 following a housing market collapse five years ago.
For every dollar in assets owned by whites in the United States, blacks own less than a nickel, a racial divide that is wider than South Africa’s at any point during the apartheid era.
The median net worth for black households is $4,955, or about 4.5 percent of whites’ median household wealth, which was $110, 729 in 2010, according to Census data. Racial inequality in apartheid South Africa reached its zenith in 1970 when black households’ median net worth represented 6.8 percent of whites’, according to an analysis of government data by Sampie Terreblanche, professor emeritus of economics at Stellenbosch University.”
"GirlGeekKampala was founded in 2012 by Christine Ampaire, Richard Zulu, and Victor Miclovich, a trio of tech leaders in Uganda frustrated by the structural and cultural barriers holding women back from careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Ampaire, an enthusiastic, ever-optimistic entrepreneur and award-winning app developer, faced many of these barriers in her education. ‘There’s this vibe, this thing that happens where girls are pushed towards the arts and boys are pushed towards the sciences,’ she told me before Joldeen’s presentation.
As she was quick to point out, the discouragement is often subtle and inadvertent; it can be as simple as feeling intimidated and out of place in a computer science lab dominated in quantity and personality by confident male peers.
'This isn’t a problem confined to Uganda. Across the world, women are held back from science careers by unsupportive teachers and restrictive biases.'
Sometimes, though, she faced explicit gender discrimination; a teacher once told her that she shouldn’t apply to a certain technical school because, as she remembered it, ‘you’re a girl—you’ll never get in.’ Thankfully, her father actively encouraged her interest in computers, and she kept learning, eventually majoring in software engineering at Makerere University in Kampala.
Unfortunately, Ampaire’s experiences aren’t unique; a 2011 study published in the International Journal of Gender, Science, and Technology echoed many of her concerns about the technological gender gap in Uganda. Though the study had a relatively small sample size, roughly two-thirds of women surveyed by the authors stated that ‘society discouraged them by claiming that computer science is a “hard” and “difficult” subject’—while only 10% of men said the same. It also highlighted the lack of scholarships and female mentors in STEM subjects as likely contributors to the technological gender gap.
This isn’t a problem confined to Uganda. Across the world, women are held back from science careers by unsupportive teachers and restrictive biases. GirlGeekKampala is just one of the many organizations supporting women in their pursuit of STEM careers; other well known groups from America include Girls Who Code, based in New York City, and Black Girls Code, in San Francisco.
Ampaire, an entrepreneur always on the lookout for a new problem to solve, saw a gap between what women wanted—a more welcoming environment where they could learn computer science—and what was available to them in the classroom. ‘I thought maybe if there were more girls around, I would get this courage to learn,’ she said. ‘It could be a group thing in a group setting for girls, and it could just start from the basics—from the ground up, at our own pace, no need to rush us.’
GirlGeekKampala capably fills that gap. Every Saturday, women—and some men—meet at Outbox, which kindly lets the group use the space for free. For a few hours each session, members of Kampala’s tech community (often men) give up to their Saturday afternoons to facilitate wide-ranging conversations and hold mini-workshops with the group of women.
The sessions are hands-on, open, and collaborative by design. ‘Everyone is free to express themselves and learn new things,’ Joldeen said, contrasting the average GirlGeekKampala session with girls’ experiences in computer labs at school. ‘The fact that you keep having girls that push you to believe that this is possible—and we have other mentors and supporters that want to see this be very successful—I think that makes it an amazing experience.’”