Isis Wenger unwittingly shot to fame after appearing in a recruitment ad for her employer, but now she’s turning prominence into something productive to promote diversity in engineering.
#iLookLikeAnEngineer began challenging established gender constructs on Twitter following the online reaction to a recruitment ad starring Isis Wenger.
Wenger works as a platform engineer for OneLogin, an identity management company, and was one of four employees who appeared in the campaign.
However, of the four ads posted around San Francisco’s BART rail service, it was Wenger’s that garnered the most attention.
Not only did critics question if Wenger was indeed an engineer, as the ad presented, but they were also troubled by OneLogin’s decision to make a poster-child of someone they believe to be a false representation of a female engineer.
‘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’
– ISIS WENGER
This is what an engineer looks like
Wenger took to Medium to answer her critics and also to discuss her own personal experience in a traditionally male-dominated workplace.
“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,” she wrote.
Wenger then asked those who do not fit not the “cookie-cutter mould of what people believe engineers should look like” to help create a new image through the #iLookLikeAnEngineer hashtag.
The hashtag became an overnight phenomenon and there’s even an unofficial website collating all the images shared on Twitter and Instagram tagged #iLookLikeAnEngineer.
But this is not where Wenger’s story ends. Seeing the reaction she has gotten from this campaign, she has been prompted to start a team to build iLookLikeAnEngineer.com.
Wenger says the website will be “a safe platform for us all to continue to share our stories and experiences relating to diversity issues in tech” and she is currently seeking UX designers and people with knowledge of Ruby on Rails and Backbone.js to help with the build.
Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Eircom, Fidelity Investments, ESB, Accenture and CoderDojo.
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