As a woman in tech myself, I am constantly scared about making a mistake or not understanding something, as I know that any show of incompetence will be projected to women as a whole. The sad reality is that every mistake I make is very likely going further to support previous percep…
The fear you have is the same for white guys; however, men tap into the stoic walls to not say anything.
E.g. I have survived (not to say I will in the future either) through over 20 years of out sourcing and layoffs in the dot-com arena and high tech.
I am a highly paid US Worker, that means every month and quarter I have a bullseye on my backside. Every day.
In essence to survive, I gave up having a family, worked 60-90 hours a week "and" travelled home on my own time every week between the midwest and West Coast.
I have had the joy of working with many bright and smart people (both women and minorities since I always looked out and reached out).
What is interesting is quite a few people that had 4.0/4.0 and were top of their field. Came in with the fake it until you make it (gender and sexuality need not apply), and it was always interesting to watch folks hit the wall.
Life and work is not fair, safe or easy. If you are a worker in north america, companies want to cull you and replace you (period). It is cheaper to use outsourced labor, and no political party protects workers. IF governments step in, companies shutdown and move away.
How did this happen? Cutthroat competition from foreign competition. I have seen stealing of IP and other aspects happen all the time.
Diversity is critical since different viewpoints improve the survivability.
One of the funny memories I had was a #1 from Georgia Tech with Masters, danced with the tech devils. He thought he was the man (he was a minority) he tried to keep up.
I overheard him one morning when I came back with coffee for the team (I was the lead). Holy Hell Bob, This Al guy is beyond intense. I have never met someone like him. Bob was like you do realize this is only one of his three projects he is dealing with.
The guys mouth dropped.
The guy ended up flaming out and burning out, which was a bummer. I took the learning from that situation to realize some people can't handle more then 40-50 hours of work a week. From that point, I offerred consent to people. I stated if you desire to dance, realize it will be brutal. If you want work/life balance, we can do that "however" realize that your reviews will tap out at a 3/4 scale. In the era of layoffs "3"s could be laid off.
There is a lot to learn from one another. My favorite find in 2000 was I had more in common with Asian guys then I did with the white guys in the Bay Area. As an example, a friend of mine stopped by my farm in Texas, rode a horse, and spent time here after his gig in North Carolina was done and he was driving home to his place in the Bay.
He helped me find a fantastic asian place in Frisco .... that he even stated beat the Bay Area. So win-win ....