Women Challenge Gender Stereotypes With #ILookLikeAnEngineer

After an engineer from California posted a photo of herself with the hashtag, women descended on social media to contribute their photos and badass skills.

On Aug. 1, Isis Anchalee published a short essay in Medium in which she shared her experiences as a female engineer.

Anchalee, who works in the San Francisco Bay Area, spoke of the mistreatment she has received both in the workplace — a colleague once threw dollar bills at her during work hours — and as a result of an engineering recruitment ad that features her photo, shown above.

The 22-year-old writes:

There is a significant lack of empathy and insight towards recognizing that their "playful/harmless" behavior is responsible for making others inappropriately uncomfortable. This industry's culture fosters an unconscious lack of sensitivity towards those who do not fit a certain mold. I'm sure that every other women and non-male identifying person in this field has a long list of mild to extreme personal offenses that they've just had to tolerate. I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble, fired or ruin anyone's life. I just want to make it clear that we are all humans, and there are certain patterns of behavior that no one should have to tolerate while in a professional environment.

Near the bottom of her essay, Anchalee (her middle name, which she prefers over the surname featured in the OneLogin ad) posted this photo of herself.

She then issued a call to action to other female engineers she knew.

@MichelleGlauser What if we started a hashtag campaign #iLookLikeAnEngineer with other people posting photos/holding testimonials?

Within a few hours, engineers from far and wide chimed in with their laundry lists of accomplishments in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

#ILookLikeAnEngineer Embeded software for medical systems. 15 years an engineer and loving every minute of life 😃👍

I was one of the earliest engs @Pinterest; I've worked on infra, api, web, ads, homefeed & more #ILookLikeAnEngineer

Proud Latina. English major -> Mobile Dev. I love hip-hop music, dog videos, and yasssing. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

I'm an iOS Engineer, creator of @WeReadTooApp. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

I run the npm registry. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

Hiiiiiiiii I'm an Engineer @GitHub! #iLookLikeAnEngineer

Developed an app that securely overwrites & deletes Android metadata. Now I'm a cyber engineer #ilooklikeanengineer

The hashtag encouraged participants to directly challenge the issue of equating one's appearance with their abilities as an engineer.

I have another photo to share for #ILookLikeAnEngineer. Every single woman in this photo is a software engineer.

#ILookLikeAnEngineer because no matter how I dress, I still can code.

I'm Korean, Dominican, Spanish, and five feet tall. I write code all day. I wear lipstick. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

Breaking the mold. #ILookLikeAnEngineer No, not the guy in the hat. The gal with the curly fro. #chemicalengineer

They listed their quirky interests right alongside their specialized skill sets.

I build accessible UIs, have a CS degree, actually dream about bug fixes... & collect food hats. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

Mothers (and mothers-to-be) also showed up.

#MomOps to 3 {autism, T1 Diabetes, & Tethered Spinal Cord} Ops, Infrastructure, Full Stackaroni #ILookLikeAnEngineer

I've put Java, C#, Ruby, Golang, JavaScript, & a baby into Production this year. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

I'm female, wear pink and I'm pregnant. I'm also a full stack software engineer. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

At least one mom claimed the space for her daughter...

I love to code my own Minecraft mods. #ILookLikeAnEngineer and can't wait to be one someday. #proudmama

...while another proud son used the hashtag to celebrate his mother.

My mom, Perl hacker, 20+ years sys analyst. Nuclear physicist. Started coding on punch cards! #iLookLikeAnEngineer

Some even disclosed that they achieved their dreams without a high school diploma. (Anchalee also wrote in her Medium piece that she dropped out.)

#ILookLikeAnEngineer even though I don't even have a high school diploma! :)

Since the hashtag took off, people have created websites that collect images, and designed T-shirts, the proceeds of which will be donated to a charity of Anchalee's choosing.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Anchalee for comment.

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