I’m passionate about helping women look good without draining their energy (or bank accounts!). RocksBox recently held a contest on corporette where readers could enter by saying where they would wear the jewelry. I wanted to share some of my favorite responses because they make me smile :)
Libraries are a haven where people should be able to seek whatever information they want to pursue without any threat of government intervention.
Joan Airoldi, the director of the Whatcom County Library System
Much of my growing up took place in the adorably tiny Deming Library, in the very northwest corner of the United States. When Airoldi refused to release information about patrons to the FBI acting under the Patriot Act, she received national recognition, and the Deming Library was called The Little Library That Wouldn’t.
Etsy’s seen the most success when there’s either zero or two women engineers on a team…because if there’s only one, she’s a woman engineer as opposed to just an engineer.
I’ve been super-impressed with the work Kellan & Marc have led at Etsy to improve diversity on their engineering teams over the last year or two. They’ve pioneered smart, non-patronising and innovative approaches, and have shared their learnings for those of us who want to do more at our own companies.
I will openly admit that it’s only in the last few years that I’ve truly understood the white-male privilege that I’m genetically blessed with. I can pinpoint the exact moment it dawned on me.
Late 2009, I was trying to poach a former co-worker to join my team at Slide. Toward the end of lunch, she asked me “How many female engineers do you have?” I paused, pretty instantly doing the mental arithmetic that the answer was zero1. “Well, there aren’t any on our team,” I hedged, “but in QA…”
“QA doesn’t count.” was her entirely valid reply. (And frankly, at that moment, I think there was only one female QA engineer anyway.)2
And there it was: That initial realisation that, for all white-male techies like to believe things in our industry are pure meritocracy, women (and other underrepresented groups in our industry) have extra things to think about when considering jobs — questions that don’t even vaguely pass by my subconscious. Etsy are doing us a great service by tracking, examining and sharing some of these.
Recruiting engineers is tough, even if you’re perfectly happy with a room full of twenty-something guys with plaid shirts, Threadless t-shirts and Warby Parker glasses. But what Etsy is proving is that the initial upfront pain of “How do we actively and publicly prove we want more diversity?” brings you a multitude more résumés, options and talent down the line.
And it makes our industry better.
In its six years from incubation to acquisition, out of probably a total of 150 who passed through its doors, Slide had a grand total of zero female software engineers. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Embarrassing, but not particularly atypical. ↩
A few months later, my friend joined Google, and specifically talked about how excited she was to work with a shitload of smart, female engineers. ↩
I’ve been a member of One Medical, a “boutique medical practice” since the beginning of 2012. and, I love it. Here are some of the experiences I’ve had with them that make me so fond of them.
It makes sense if you don’t have insurance
This year I had a health insurance plan with a somewhat high deductible ($1500), as I often do. The first time I went to One Medical, they negotiated their rate with my health insurance (as is standard) and I received a bill in the mail for $275 several months later. Sure. I guess it feels ok to know that that $275 is counting towards my deductible, but I doubted I’d use more than $1500 in medical care this year, so my insurance wouldn’t ever pay anything.
Often at medical practices, if you have a high deductible health insurance plan and pay for all of your medical care yourself, the amount you pay is lower than if you don’t have health insurance. This is because your insurance company has negotiated a lower rate for services from your provider. It is something that makes me very angry in life; ask me about it sometime and I will yell about it to you.
At One Medical, that’s not the case. I learned on my second visit that, rather than billing my health insurance and paying the negotiated rate, I have the option to just pay One Medical $100 directly. It doesn’t count towards my deductible so I am, in effect, betting against using more than $1500 in health care for this year. $100 seems like a very reasonable amount to pay for a doctor’s visit and in fact, about how much I want to pay for a doctor’s visit. I’m delighted to pay it, and I appreciate the mystery being taken out of how much a doctor’s visit might cost.
If you have decent health insurance, One Medical probably accepts that in a normal fashion. [accepted health insurance plans]
Care takes place outside of the office
Earlier this year, I suspected I had a UTI, so I booked an appointment with my nurse practitioner at One Medical. She called me up on the phone a bit later to triage my symptoms. I told her that I think I had jumped the gun a little bit and don’t actually think I have a UTI. She said that that was great, and that I should wait until just before my scheduled appointment time to cancel it — One Medical doesn’t have cancellation fees. That way, if I do have symptoms, I’ll have my appointment still, and if I don’t, I won’t unnecessarily go in. I’ve never been told to wait to cancel an appointment before! It really made me feel as though my health was most important here — something that cancellation fees at other providers do not make me feel.
I can interact with One Medical the way I interact with every other part of my life. I’ve emailed them medical records from other practices for them to add to my chart. They’ve sent me my test results as PDF attachments over email. I can schedule (and cancel!) appointments online — as well as renew prescriptions. [other actions available online]
They’re On Time
Appointments are not only on-time, but they’re fast as well. At other doctor’s, I feel like I wait at every step — wait on the phone, wait in the waiting room, wait in the examination room, see the doctor, wait in the examination room again. At One Medical, I’m talking to someone the whole time I’m there — and I’m often in and out in less than 30 minutes. Oh and they do same-day appointments too, though I rarely need them.
Membership at One Medical cost $150/year (some companies, like Yelp, pay this for their employees as part of their health care packaging). This fee covers care that health insurance companies won’t pay for — like phone calls — and so I’m happy to pay it. Most of my health concerns are me thinking “Should I worry about this?”. I love that calling my doctor to see if I should come in or not is included with my membership.
So that’s why I love One Medical. If you live in a major city and are interested in improving your experiences with our horrendous health care system, I recommend checking them out.
Yesterday I went to a panel hosted by the SF Bay Guardian. The panel members were the same as those featured in their Faces of Feminism cover story last week. Here are some notes on a couple things that stood out to me.
The first was during the introductions. It was 7 women on the panel; I think 5 identified as queer. (As much as I want to just be cool and queer like all my friends, I’m not, and I just can’t help who I am!) I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to relate to them because I feel like my life is surrounded by guys: I mostly work with men, I date men, I hang out with men and I’ve taken many classes where I’m the only woman. Because I’m so immersed in dude culture, I’m really interested in feminism as it relates to interpersonal relationships and shifting (abolishing?) gender roles — and disappointingly, this panel didn’t speak much to that.
One question the panel was asked was “What’s something that has given you hope for feminism?” The response I really liked was Alix Rosenthal's. She said that Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin gave her hope. Historically, the first gay candidates, the first black candidates, the first candidates of any minority had to be five times better than their opposition, in order to compensate for being black, for being gay, for being female. In Alix's words “Sarah Palin is not five times better than anyone”. To her, the fact that we, as a country, could have incompetent women competing at the same level as incompetent men was an indicator that we're moving to a level playing field. (Definitely my words now)
Later, Alix said “It’s been an hour and a half, and I can’t believe no one’s mentioned Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in the Atlantic!”. She then said that what she got out of the article was that we have structural deficiencies in our country that prevent people — both men and women — from having the life they want and devoting attention to whatever things matter to them. Things like universal health care, universal child care, etc. would contribute.
This segues nicely into a contradiction Laura Thomas brought up several times that also resonated strongly with me. The conflict is between devoting resources to women specifically, carving out space for them, listening to them, etc., and moving away from gender-based politics. Many issues traditionally thought of as women’s issues: Sex work, domestic violence, custody rights, etc. apply to both men and women, and it’s harmful to act as though they were just women’s issues. The opposite is true too — things like labor rights, tenants’ rights, and immigration aren’t usually thought of as women’s issues, though they may disproportionally affect women. All this makes gender-based politics seem absurd… and then I think of affirmative action, and how much I love it. And how it’s a kind of screwed up way to respond to a very screwed up system. (My roommate Avery brought up that our alma mater, the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, heavily recruited women to create ~50% gender balance in its formative years — unheard of in engineering colleges. Now, just ~10 years after the first class started, they don’t need to specifically target women, because they’ve created an environment that attracts them).
Anyway, these are my quick scattered notes, mostly for me to remember a couple things I want to mull over.