Walking Around CSIC in Dresses

The AWC's first ever dress week showed that being feminine and a programmer were not mutually exclusive.
By Alex BenDebba
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Last week, the AWC hosted the first ever Dress Week, an event to show that presenting feminine and being a competent computer scientist are not mutually exclusive.  The idea came in response to an article by a female computer scientist who goes by the handle Sailor Mercury, who wrote about the struggles of being feminine in a male dominated field.  She explained how people said that she didn’t look like a programmer when she wore dresses, did her makeup, and was feminine.  The article was posted to the AWC group by senior Margaret Gratian, who said, “There was definitely a time when I stopped wearing skirts and dresses to class because I didn’t think I’d be taken seriously.”  Soon after, Dress Week was made official.

The aim was to show that women can both be good at coding and well-dressed, but it also helped foster a sense of camaraderie.  There were women from other universities that got dressed up and supported the cause, as well as a male TA here at the University who proudly donned a dress for his class.  On Thursday, almost 40 students and some faculty showed up for a group picture outside of CSIC to celebrate women in computer science. 

As Sailor Mercury advised in the article that started it all, instead of trying to judge a computer scientist’s skill based on their clothing, “assume people are as or more qualified than you.”  And if you’re really not sure of their skill level or their point in the major, just ask politely.  By showing that computer scientists are not the homogeneous group others have pegged us as, we can change the public’s minds about our field and the people in it.

Check out the original article here.  If you wanted to see some of the lovely outfits worn during dress week, the event page is here.

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