Much has been said and written about how the world of technology is dominated by men and plagued by gender discrimination.
However, thanks to a Stanford computer science student, there is a platform that highlights a more important side of the entire debate: the achievements of the women who are making a difference in the industry – despite all the stereotyping and bias.
"I want to celebrate these living and thriving examples of female success," explains Lea Coligado, founder of Women of Silicon Valley – a photoblog that focuses on the lives of women working in the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development and showcases their talent.
"I want women who are sitting on the fence about computer science to get as inspired as I was by these role models, and hopefully, to see that at its heart, tech is exciting, immensely powerful and so, so worth it," Coligado adds.
WoSV was set up as a photoblog on Facebook in January. Though it has eight stories so far, the initiative has struck a nerve with many and it’s expanding to other social media websites such as Twitter, Medium and Instagram.
"Go fast, work hard, be yourself, trust yourself and you will find the people you are supposed to do great things with," advises Lindi Emoungu, a software engineer at Google, featured in one of the posts.
Coligado says her personal experience with sexism inspired the idea to create WoSV.
One instance, she recalls, was when she got a summer internship at Facebook and told about it to a classmate. He shocked Coligado by responding: “Oh, well, then I should have applied for that internship too,” even though just moments ago he had praised one of Coligado’s male friends on completing the same program, by saying, “Wow, Facebook! You must be really smart!”
“Knowing that these women who are now in positions of immense power have faced the same demeaning comments I have, or felt the same crappy feelings I felt, has given me more optimism for Silicon Valley than I could have expected,” Caligado told BuzzFeed.
In the future, Coligado hopes to feature female tech gurus like Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, and Laura Weidman Powers, the CEO and co-founder of non-profit organization CODE2040.
“I want women who are sitting on the fence about Computer Science to get as inspired as I was by these role models,” the blogger added. “And hopefully, to see that at its heart tech is exciting, immensely powerful and so, so worth it.”