We need some more self-efficacy, ladies

Catching up with my feed reading, I see that lately there’s been some buzz in the ‘sphere around Let’s All Evolve Past This: The Barriers Women Face in Tech Communities. It is indeed a very insightful article.

In particular, I am pleased to see someone talking about the differences in handling sub-optimal communication and how it affects the whole ‘women in tech’ issue. The bit under the heading Men are generally very good at ignoring bad behavior is spot on.

But even though the article gives some good advice on building communities with better communication patterns, it does not give any advice to women as to how to help themselves to better cope with difference in communication modes. For example, it would help if more women were aware of these differences and would try to contemplate harsh things said by their colleagues in the context of the colleague’s overall behavior and character, and avoid over-analyzing these comments.

Quite a few of the problems faced by women in tech could be addressed by working on women’s self-efficacy. Among other things, people with higher self-efficacy are more comfortable taking harsh criticism, are more likely to voice their opinions, have higher motivation, and are more willing to take some risks and experiment. So maybe we should all be working on that. I, for one, will try to work on mine.