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Thoughts on International Women's Day

Michelle and boys

Our very own Technology Consultant, Michelle DesRosiers, penned this letter to our staff on International Women's Day and we wanted to share it with all of you too.  Thank you Michelle!  We truly appreciate all that you do and all that you are.

From Michelle:

I wanted to take this opportunity on this International Women’s Day to appreciate the amazing women at PeaceWorks – thank you Elaine, Jacqueline, Susan and Karen.  I am honoured to know you and value all that you are.  Thank you!

As a woman in technology, I have come to appreciate how far things have come and it’s exciting to see my peers out there being trailblazers. At the same time, we still have a long way to go.

I have been so lucky to have co-workers who have been nothing but supportive and have shown nothing but respect. I can’t thank you all enough and I am so happy to work for an organization that I feel valued in.  
This years marks my 20th year in technology, and I wish I could say that the challenges for women in technology have lessened, but they still very prevalent. Even this week, I had a comment that someone was impressed that I could unscrew a laptop. Something my male counterparts wouldn’t hear.  A few months ago, someone had asked if I setup a switch all by myself.  And my favourite – someone asking if my career was a “hobby”.  This is not something I hear from my current co-workers, but still something I experience sometimes in the field.

I consider myself lucky that this is the worst stuff I face. I have friends in technology who have been scrutinized and harassed online, being told that they don’t know their stuff, and even death threats. Being harassed at technical conferences – something, sadly, I have had experiences with also in my early days.

I have seen some people I have gone to school with that have switched careers due to the toxic culture.  Out of all the STEM fields – technology is having less and less women staying in it.

On this International Women’s Day, I appreciate the cultivation of a culture that I feel accepted and respected in. Let’s hope by with our voices and actions, it will be like that everywhere.


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