I was promoted a few weeks ago, which was great. I got a lot of nice notes from friends, family, customers, partners, and random strangers, which was exciting.
But it wasnt long until a note came in saying, Everyone knows you got the position because youre a girl. In spite of having a great week at a great company with great people whom I love, that still stung, because its not the first time Ive heard it.
Every woman who works in tech heck, likely every woman on Earth hears because youre a girl dozens, if not thousands, of times in her life.
It starts young, of course:
Why cant I join that team? Because youre a girl.
Why cant I study physics? Because youre a girl.
Then, the comments age with you.
Why cant I manage that project? Because youre a girl.
Why cant I join that group? Because youre a girl.
And after youve reached any level of attainment in a profession you love, the comments are used to minimize your success.
Why did you get that award? Because youre a girl.
Why were you chosen to participate in that class? Because youre a girl.
Like so many women before me, I have shaken off the comment.
Ive gotten angry. Ive gotten sad. Ive doubted myself and my abilities. Ive ignored it entirely. Ive challenged it. Ive recruited support from men and women I respect. Yet every time it stays there in the back of my mind, screaming for attention after every failure or setback.
But today is the day Ive decided to change that.
I did, in fact, get the job because Im a girl.
A girl who was called “bossy” growing up.
A girl who wasnt afraid to play with the boys.
A girl who didnt hesitate to raise her hand if she knew the answer.
A girl who stood up for other kids.
A girl who was always the first one to volleyball practice and the last to leave.
A girl who was told she was too assertive and aggressive to advance in her career.
A girl who went to MIT anyway.
A girl who asked her company to do more on diversity and inclusion and wont stop pushing until its truly remarkable.
A girl who has made big mistakes, both personal and professional.
A girl who swings for the fences even when no one is watching.
A girl who puts in hours when other people are asleep
A girl who tells young girls how smart and strong they are.
A girl who hates to lose.
And a girl who wont stand silently while people still use because youre a girl as any limitation for girls who want to grow, challenge the status quo, and be something, anything, greater than society tells them they could or should.
So yeah. I guess you could say I got my job because Im a girl, but not for any of the reasons you might think.
This story first appeared on the author’s Medium and is reprinted here with permission.