From mid-morning and continuing into the late evening, people are adding their contributions to #WITBragDay on Twitter. Tech professionals – mostly women, and also allies who are men – have been tweeting our successes, great and small.
My observations and some facts about the phenomenon:
The fatigue’s been palpably increasing as the week continues, as ire about the screed did not fizzle. I first noticed the need for positivity voiced on Wednesday by Duretti Hirpa – a much-needed digestif from the entire fracas – and on Thursday, Cate Huston suggested promoting the accomplishment of under-indexed tech professionals. Cate then tweeted a number of women’s tech accomplishments. The day before, Duretti began with her own accomplishments, inviting others.
We already know what happened – is happening, still – today: #WITBragDay has been among the top hashtags in the United States.
So many people have weighed in with their accomplishments, and supporting the accomplishments of their colleagues.
Most are women. Many are men.
Some have tentatively asked whether they can (or should) speak on behalf of a tech professional in their life – a wife, a daughter, a team mate. Yes, absolutely! Your allyship is vital. Many who have worked for and alongside wonderful team mates have unabashedly mentioned their women colleagues – sometimes by name, sometimes by inference – respecting privacy.
A few have suggested they have “no particular accomplishment” to share – then almost as an afterthought, she mentions some aspect of their work. Each accomplishment shared has been solid and fascinating – and is so a “particular accomplishment” worth sharing and celebrating.
Also, I’ve seen some comments from some that not everyone feels the need to brag: they’re solid performers sans speaking engagements, without that official blue checkmark by their username. I’ll note this: privacy is important, and everyone has a right to theirs. I’ll also note that solid performers make solid contributions – and yours are important, whether aired publicly or celebrated privately. If nothing else – make sure you record and promote your accomplishments during your review.
Throughout the day, this conversation has grown from celebrating women in tech’s accomplishments to include women in STEM fields’ accomplishments. For example, Melissa Aquino, the executive who started her career as a chemical engineer. Aquino methodically built up the case for women in tech and STEM, citing her own technical roles increasing in responsibility in parallel with the institutional and individual misogyny she experienced in college and the workplace – all the while poking holes in the screed’s rigor.
Aquino, a Vice President of Fortune 200 company states that “…women in science and engineering fields need to start telling their stories, showing the real challenges they face in pursuing male-dominated fields.”
That’s exactly what Hirpa, Huston, and Goldfuss started with their spontaneous celebrations of fellow tech employees.
Long may the hashtag trend.