On the first Saturday of 2016, our running group met for our usual Saturday morning run followed by coffee at Starbucks. Our meetup group, going strong for two years, is 90% female, but a few members are male. While some of the runners, (me) are slow, and walk/jog, others participate in marathons and long races throughout the year.
On this particular day, we were happy to have Jaehyun back from Switzerland. Jaehyun is a software engineer at Google, who was in Switzerland on business for several months. Originally from Korea, Jaehyun is quite brilliant and holds several patents.
Jaehyun caught us up on his travels, and told us that a Korean publisher asked him to contribute to a text book on how to write software code. He disliked the pictures this publisher uses on its covers of girls depicted in an inappropriate way. He suggested they change the picture to a “smart” girl, pointing out that most teen centered TV shows feature a smart girl. “There’s always one saying, ‘Let me decipher this!’” Jaehyun related.
The textbook publisher replied No to the suggestion. Consequently, Jaehyun did not feel good about participating, and declined.
Jeannette told us that she liked coding, and took a coding class in college where she had the 3rd highest grade in the class. We were all impressed. However, she added, for the final exam, every time she went to the computer lab to work on the assignment, it was 100% booked. She could not get any computer time. The class was really large, and there were not enough computers to meet the needs of the students. The teacher announced he would not grant any extensions and to not even ask for one.
Meanwhile, she was juggling 2 jobs in addition to going to classes, one as a nanny and one on campus. She found herself waiting outside the computer lab before it closed each night, but never gained entry. Jeannette ended up making her corrections with pencil and paper, on a dot matrix printout. The day Jeannette turned in her final, she was dismayed when the Professor announced “all those who got an extension come forward.”
We asked, “What did you do? Did you explain the situation to the teacher and get an extension? She replied, “No, I just accepted my C in the class.”
We all empathized with the unfairness of the situation.
“I went to Catholic grade school, and the Nuns made sure we never spoke up. They scared us and trained us to be meek.” I contributed.
Jaehyun asked, “what is meek?”
“Afraid to speak up, not assertive,” we explained.
“I had to unmeek myself" I said.
“Unmeek yourself. It could be a slogan,” Michelle added.
“Unmeek yourself. It sounds like something that should go on a T shirt.” Elizabeth chimed.
“Well herbsack could put it on the side of a bag! We can create a twitter hash tag! We can blog about this to enlighten others!” I said.
The group was very encouraging of the idea, so here we are!
herbsack as a company values empowerment of women! As we start the New Year, those who feel the need, unmeek yourself!
Happy New Year!
#unmeekyourself #LeanIn #girlswhocode