“In tandem with the dilemma that technologically savvy women are simply defecting from competitive start-up culture is the fact that the notion of a rigid path into ‘the tech world’ has hardly ever been a reality for women. Historically, women have been excluded from these spaces and are charged with the task of disrupting them, not assimilating into them. In her essay, Why Are There No Great Women Net Artists? (after Linda Nochlin’s 1988 essay, Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?) Jennifer Chan states, ‘Cyberfeminists of the nineties sought to achieve equal technological footing to their male programming counterparts by ideologically infiltrating communication networks with sexually charged dissent. They posted their manifestos on mailing lists, message boards, and self-organized websites.’
Though outside of pursuing strict programming degrees, outside of ‘the tech world’ in a strict sense, women – the women who may have used their ‘hacking’ skills to claim a seat on the board of Twitter – have come to view the internet as a means of radical assertion. Traditional cyberfeminist framework is optimistic in a woman’s place online as the resister. Cyberfeminist scholar Sadie Plant shares her vision of ‘women, computers, virtual reality, and cyberpace’ as intimately linked and in this new, unclaimed space of the internet women have the power to dismantle the patriarchy. However, in its emphasis of resistance and assertion, this framework might be the problem. The internet is not and was never an unclaimed space. It exists and was born out of the culture of the white male, where early cyberfeminists had to fight to hold court. In its most essentialist form, the problem could be viewed in these terms: The woman in tech is concerned with the personal and legitimizing the self and the man in tech, secure in his identity online and in the world, does not seek out the internet as a place to assert his self. Not having to disrupt any existing framework, he is concerned with his next start-up venture selling to Facebook for 3 billion dollars.”
- Girls Who Code: Creating a New Wave of Cyberfeminists?