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Do you really need to call me a “female web designer”?

I am a woman and I build websites. So what?

For the past 10 years I’ve been designing and building websites for a living. Before that I spent three years studying the broad topic of “New Media” at university, and 2 years studying “Multimedia” at college. I built my first website around 15 years ago – probably some sort of fan site for whatever music I was into back then.

When I started building websites and learning to code it didn’t even enter my mind that this was something ‘weird’ for a girl. In fact it wasn’t until I left university and tried to get a job that I even realised people had the opinion that being any sort of developer is better suited to men. Why would it be?

To me it’s not odd that I’m in this profession, so unless you have a weird habit of saying genders in front of all professions, I’d prefer you didn’t do it with mine.

I’m a web designer, a front-end developer, a business owner and an entrepreneur. Yes, technically you could put “female” in front of any of those and you wouldn’t be wrong, but there’s really no need to. While there is a gender gap in tech, when you focus purely on gender and not skill you risk hiring or celebrating the wrong people just to fill a quota.

It makes me really uncomfortable to be a token woman in anyone’s mind. I understand that there are loads more men than women doing this job at the moment, but I can’t think of any situation outside of mentorship where my gender would need to be considered.

There is a definite need for people to have role models they can identify with in the field they want to work in. We should always make sure there’s a mix of people in conference line-ups, across development teams and in the media.

The sooner we stop acting like it’s an anomaly that a woman can code, the sooner people will stop thinking that way.

I’m very good at what I do and I work hard to keep getting better, but the fact that I’m female has nothing to do with it.