I am, of course, talking about names. Specifically, changing the one I'll be using professionally to sound more masculine.
I really, sincerely wish that I didn't feel like I have to do this. That there weren't huge gender biases in STEM fields. That the deck wasn't hopelessly stacked against women in programming and CS. But alas and alack.
I'm not even sure it isn't too late for me to do so. All my college coursework up to this point has been under my full, blatantly feminine, name. However, I'm about to start the process of transferring to another school, to chase down a Bachelor's in CS as opposed to the Associate's in Business IT I've been working on (where my classes were taught mainly by women, and where most of my classmates were women—it was seriously awesome). And I'm staring down the barrel of this potential name change, as well.
"Lada," you say, "won't changing your name be moot? Won't you be found out as soon as you set foot in a classroom?" Well, probably. But there's a very good chance that the school I'll end up transferring to will have my classes be completely online (a state school, by the by; not a for-profit online only school), and I may never meet my professors or my classmates face-to-face. I'll be judged purely on the content of my work, not my appearance or any of a million other things that shouldn't matter, but ultimately do.
And it will be awesome. But then, after I get the piece of paper I'm slaving over, I'll have to deal with hiring managers. And I'm afraid they'll skip over all of my qualifications, see my blatantly feminine name, and dismiss me out of hand. Never mind that I've been building and fixing computers for over 10 years, since I was in high school. Never mind that I've coded circles around every classmate, male or female, that I've ever had. Never mind that I was asked by my department head to become a tutor for the other students in the program.
After all, everyone knows that girls just aren't wired for technical things. They can't understand them, amirite?!?
I want so badly to start my own tech company. To dismantle the boys' club from the inside out. But I won't be able to do so if I can't even get my foot in the door. And it feels like doing something, anything, that would make it easier for me to get my foot in the door (instead of having it slammed in my face) is ultimately a good thing.
But. Having to hide my actual gender just to be considered? Is fucking bullshit. The fact that it is also a smart move in this industry kills me.
Any of you badass ladies in the tech field have any advice on this?