Women and LGBTQ+ engineers are now uploading their photos on social media using the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer to break down stereotypes and highlight diversity in the tech and science industry that is too often associated only with the image of a white, geeky Mark Zuckerberg-type male.
The hashtag, which was included in over 24,000 tweets as of this afternoon, was started by Isis Wenger, a San Francisco platform engineer for OneLogin, a service that provides single sign-on and identity management for cloud-based applications.
Wenger created the hashtag and called for female engineers to post photos of what they look like after she said she received sexist responses to an advertisement OneLogin posted up in San Francisco that featured a photo of her.
"I'm curious [...] if women in particular buy this image of what a female software engineer looks like," someone commented on a Facebook post of the advertisement. "Idk. Weird."
Wenger said she didn't want or ask for any of this attention on her post, but that if she could use the situation to "put a spotlight in gender issues in tech," she considered it to be a win, she wrote on Medium. "The reality is that most people are well intentioned but genuinely blind to a lot of the crap that those who do not identify as male have to deal with."
The platform engineer then asked, "Do you feel passionately about helping spread awareness about tech gender diversity?" and "Do you not fit the “cookie-cutter mold” of what people believe engineers 'should look like?'"
She added, "If you answered yes to any of these questions I invite you to help spread the word and help us redefine 'what an engineer should look like.' #iLookLikeAnEngineer"
Now, cis women and LGBTQ+ engineers are responding to Wenger's call on Twitter and destroying the narrow image that society has of what engineers look like.
Here are their stories and photos: