Obama doesn’t just talk, he appoints Megan Smith. Way to fuckin’ go!

Goddess help me, I’ve been absent from my blog as Steve Millstein has monopolized my time.  I am not complaining, mind you.  I’ve not felt this engaged and alive in years…since I worked with Jim Pisz in the early days of telematics.  IOT reminds me soooo much of telematics and I’m really psyched and honored to work with Steve and Aeris.

Speaking of Steve, he is a big time political activist and a supporter of Barak Obama.  In fact, he brought me a MICHELLE sign from the first democratic convention.  Honestly, I’m a Hilary woman.  My opinions of Obama have vacillated…

  • Positive – Obama care (three cheers for Obama-care!! Hip hip horray! Hip hip horray! Hip hip horray!)
  • Luke-warm – wearing tan suits (wtf? Own a mirror?)
  • Pissed – drones, deportations, Gen. Wanker Alexander (he lied to congress, Diane Feinstein no less! and didn’t get fired – sooo not okay for him or Obama.)

But this week, I’m really proud I voted for President Obama twice.  He appointed Megan Smith the Chief Technology Officer of the United States of America.  A woman, a mother, a lesbian, a coder.  All of these things matter.  A lot.

While I initially scoffed at Google’s Made With Code initiative and their effort to increase the number of women at their I/O conference as trite, especially for a company ridiculously well known for it’s youth, male culture; after a bit of thought, I have to applaud the effort Google is making.  It is more than most of the other tech companies.  Amazon won’t even release their diversity numbers, but I stopped shopping at Amazon for their odious employment practices years ago.  Yes, I completely wrote Amazon out of my life.  I’ve yet to write Apple out and I’m cautiously optimistic about Google.  I do believe in personal activism and strive really hard to support companies whose values align with my own.

And I support political causes, politicians, and candidates who share my views.  My BIG view these days – we need to press forward loudly and with flinty determinism to stomp out misogynist tendencies and gender discrimination. We as women need to be visible as leaders in all fields and vocal when we hear sexist comments, experience discrimination, and be fearless to call people out for shallow, small minded thinking and acting.

Let me tell you why it matters.  When discrimination is not discussed, pointed out, criticized, and challenged, it only grows.  And as it grows, it becomes dominant.  It becomes “the norm.”  It becomes what women expect.  It reaches a point where women don’t consider themselves feminist.  They become defeated.  And our entire culture and country suffer when half the population has a defeatist attitude.

The only way to move forward, to change the abhorrent status quo, is to shine a very bright light on discrimination and inequality.  To identify it, call it out, challenge it, and work to change attitudes, practices, and beliefs.  We need men and women to stand up, be seen, and be heard as positive champions of equality.

I know first hand that sometimes discrimination is hard to identify and see before you.  I have always been a bit of a radical and a feminist.  But when it happened to me, I didn’t believe it was really happening.  I could not believe I was being discriminated for having a vagina.  It was 2012 and men didn’t do that.  Well, it took several very cool men to point out the pattern and support me in the aftermath.  And there are really, really great men out there who not only believe in equality, but do things to bring it about.  Like insisting HR find them more diverse candidates, like calling out their male colleagues for being old-school douche bags when they are being sexists, like reporting discriminating male colleagues to their higher ups. Like appointing Megan Smith as the first female CTO of the United WeAreActuallyReallyCoolThisTime States.  The cool men I’ve known were visible in their support and vocal in their efforts.  And they’ve helped me be strong in my efforts to be a positive, visible woman in automotive technology.

Megan is now really visible. She is a Role Model, with a capital R, a capital M.  Younger women need role models.   Hell, I’m not young and I need role models!  I’ve not yet met Megan, but I am so damn proud of her.  And of my President.  And of my country.

Grrrrrrlpower!