A few years ago, I used to do a bunch of lists of security people to follow on Twitter every Friday. For a while I did a separate one on “women in security.” That is, until one of my peers called me out on it.
Essentially, my friend, Wendy Nather, said that I was contributing to sexism in the industry by separating the women from the men. That’s how I took it, anyway.
She was right.
Now when I create such lists, I put the sexes together. But I still see these all-women lists a lot. The intent is usually good, but the practice is behind the times.
And the practice is everywhere, not just security.
I’m not saying that in the 21st century women are treated equally to men, thus eliminating the need for all-female distinctions. They’re not. Go to Google and you’ll have no trouble finding hundreds of articles on how woman are still marginalized in the boardroom, in politics and beyond.
I am saying we’re not helping the cause of gender equality by separating the sexes in these “people to watch” articles.
We should be judging everyone on their brains, ambition and contributions to society. No more separating by gender, skin color or sexual orientation.
Good people will disagree. I also don’t expect gender-specific lists and articles to cease.
But in my not-so-humble opinion, we’re looking at a symptom of the bigger problem.
No matter how much people talk about the glass ceiling being shattered, society still can’t stop dividing the sexes.