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Men, sexism in tech, and a story about my dad

I’m pretty into the “women in tech scene.” I teach for GirlDevelopIt, organize events for Girl Geek Dinners Philly, and assist PyStar Philly in teaching women and their friends Python. So last week, I was interested to see the Twitters blow the flip up over sexism by a few tech companies.

First things first, is that sexism (and many -isms, in fact) happens constantly. It’s not like these companies were the only people who did sexist things last week, nor were they likely the only ones called out on things. It’s that they did very public sexist things, and got called out on it very publicly by many people.

In the context of all the writing, posting, tweeting going on .. something I noticed was that some of the best coverage was written by men. Plenty from women, but lots of good ones from men.

It got me thinking about the importance of male allies to those working in the feminist space. I adore male allies, and love when they get it right — it’s a tough balance being supportive of a marginalized group without speaking for the group. For more resources on being an ally, check this out.

And here’s where we get to a story about my dad. I think he’s one of the coolest people ever.

My dad is a feminist male ally. 

He takes action in a particular, consistent way … he’s a clinic escort. That means he helps women and their friends/family/partners enter safely into abortion clinics by putting his own body on the line as a barrier to help them.

I’m impressed by all clinic escorts. But I’m especially proud of the men. Many (or most) of the men my dad escorts with are older men, family men with daughters. Who don’t like the world as they see it (the fact that women are harassed daily for doing something completely legal and frankly, no one else’s business), and decided to do something to help, even if that’s showing up at 6am every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, what have you, to help any woman exercise her right to choose without being harmed.

This isn’t as cohesive as I hoped … but what I’m trying to get at is when I see male allies speaking up for women, people who say “I see this happening — and this isn’t the kind of world I want to see.” I just want to say thank you. I love that men are supporting women in tech and talking about it (without talking over women). I think it’s an important step to getting that world we want.

(Aside — my favorite post from a woman is The Real Katie’s “Lighten Up”:

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