She finally asked herself what she wanted, went out on a limb, and took a chance. She decided to learn web development and found the WordPress community.
I am a very rare thing, a magical unicorn with wings, a woman over 50 who develops websites. (When I worked in IT, I was even rarer.) I couldn’t find the WordPress survey results, but from what I could find in web development, less than 6% of developers are women, less than 2% are over 50. That makes my demographic 0.0012% of this industry.
And today she's working as a developer and educator. She has this advice for the broader community.
Working with WordPress has allowed me to grow my business, skills and become part of a community and for that I’m eternally grateful. While this particular segment of the Web and IT community at large is more diverse than the whole, we still have a way to go. I am always happy to see girl specific coding initiatives, but I don’t want to be part of a separate tribe. I want to be part of the whole. A whole where boys assign more value to communication and people skills and where girls don’t feel like they have to be an expert before they can raise and share their voice. I’d love to see the word “developer” attached to a woman’s picture on an agency roster more often. I’d love to see more people of a certain age talking at WordCamps. I’d love to see the women in my meetup step up and volunteer to share their wisdom. Let’s do this.
It's great to see a story like Becky's and it's also a reminder that there is more to do.
And her story is timed well. Another news item today is that the Kim Parsell WordCamp US scholarship is now open for applicants. Kim was an awesome contributor to the community, and the person that wins the scholarship will get their entire trip paid for. Applicants must fulfill four requirements to qualify:
This specific scholarship in her memory is therefore limited only to applicants who fulfillall four requirements: a woman (this includes trans women), an active contributor to the WordPress open source project (through one of the contributor teams or as a local meetup/WordCamp organizer), someone with financial need, and someone who has never attended WordCamp San Francisco (the precursor to WCUS). There is more information on why we chose these conditions in the original announcement post.
I hope readers will spread the word so we can read more stories in the future like Becky's.