#ILookLikeAnEngineer Billboards Aim to Shatter Stereotypes in Silicon Valley

Sparked by last month's #ILookLikeAnEngineer viral hashtag, billboards are being put up on well-traveled Silicon Valley commuter corridors aimed to remind the tech industry that not all engineers look like Mark Zuckerberg.

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The whole thing was started almost by accident when Isis Wenger, a OneLogic engineer, was featured on a recruiting poster for the company. It had to be a model, no woman as beautiful as Wenger could possibly be an engineer, right? Wrong. Wenger actually builds enterprise software.

More from The Stir: How One Female Engineer Is Finally Shaking Up the Tech World's Nerd Bro Image

Lady engineers, and engineers of color, were quick to post images of themselves across social media to help show people that engineers come in all genders, races, shapes, and sizes. There was so much momentum behind the hashtag movement that Michelle Glauser started a crowdfunding campaign to hang #ILookLikeAnEngineer billboards around the Bay Area in an effort to show "there's more than one way to look like an engineer," she says about the project. She raised more than $50,000 and now the billboards are going up. 

Glauser wrote in a blog post announcement:

Through October, as people wait for BART trains, walk around San Francisco, wait in traffic on the 101 in Santa Clara or Palo Alto or San Jose, drive on the 880 in Oakland, and cross the Bay Bridge, they’ll see '#ILookLikeAnEngineer' next to faces that defy the stereotype of what an engineer should look like.

So what do Glauser and her supporters want the billboards to accomplish? To start conversations and encourage more diversity in Silcon Valley. Seems like an idea that just might work.

 

Bravo to this group of brainy ladies working to shatter stereotypes while also managing to handle breaking that glass ceiling once and for all. Not only is their work important to women, but it's important for opening up Silicon Valley to the best and brightest for future generations to come. Future engineers like Ahmed who was assumed by his school to be a terrorist instead of a kid who built a clock to show his teachers.

#ILookLikeAnEngineer is an important step toward building a tech industry inhabited by professionals aware that it doesn't matter what an engineer looks like, it's the work that matters most.

 

Image via Fusion/Twitter

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