Sexist responses to an ad featuring a female engineer have turned into a rare opportunity to highlight the contributions of women and people of color to the technology industry.
Isis Wenger says she faced an unexpected backlash after appearing in an ad as part of her company's recruiting campaign. “As a genuine introvert I have never cared much about gaining public attention and I really wasn’t prepared for how much everything blew up,” Wenger said. “Honestly when I see ads, I don’t think much of them and I certainly don’t try to read deeply into them. It was surprising to me to see that other people did.”
To change the way people think about engineers, Wenger started the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer.
“#ILookLikeAnEngineer is intentionally not gender-specific,” Wenger says. “External appearances and the number of X chromosomes a person has is hardly a measure of engineering ability. My goal is to help redefine “what an engineer should look like” because I think that is a step towards eliminating sub-conscious bias towards diversity in tech.”