It’s taken me a while to finally write this post. I started it back in September after what turned out to be a rather introspective week for me. Yesterday I celebrated a somewhat belated Thanksgiving with friends and I realised it was the prefect moment to finish this piece.
The introspective week I was talking about? It was a combination of three things: firstly, I watched Emma Watson’s great UN speech about feminism and the He For She campaign, which started to make me think about what feminism means to me. That same week I organised a dinner with a group of awesome women, which led to some good discussions about being a woman in tech and how we got to where we are today. Finally, my colleague Tess held a great internal talk about youth unemployment and what we (as a company and as individuals) could do to help make it better.
And all of this made me realise: I’m extremely lucky and thankful to be where I am today.
I am thankful that I’ve always lived in countries where I can vote, where I can go to school, where I can choose who I want to marry and where I can determine what I do with my body.
I am thankful that I have parents who have always supported the decisions I made and who have always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. They never stopped me from playing with LEGO or video games or other supposedly “boy” toys, they never once told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. They instilled in me that knowledge and learning were things to strive for, that libraries and museums were places to treasure, that solving puzzles and playing games were good ways to spend my time.
I am thankful that as bad as the tech community sometimes can be, I’ve been lucky enough to always be surrounded by lovely people. There are so many fun and interesting events in London, and apart from the odd comment I’ve always had great experiences. I am lucky that in all my years of blogging and of going to events the worse that has happened to me is being told I don’t belong (yet I still find it a very disconcerting feeling that I count myself “lucky” about this).
I am thankful that I woke for a company (FutureLearn) that not only is doing something good, but is filled with some amazing people who have been supportive with helping me learn the things I needed and wanted to learn. I love that we have a culture where it’s okay to try to work on something that you might not necessarily be good at, as long as you know who and where to ask for help. I love that since working here my confidence in myself and my work has increased a lot, due in no small part to the atmosphere and people here.
I am thankful that in the past year I’ve had the opportunity to speak more at events and share what I know with others. I’m still learning what it means to give good presentations, but I do enjoy doing it and seeing that people appreciate my talks and ideas makes me want to get better at it.
Most of this might seem pretty obvious, but I thought it’s worth getting down on paper (well, the digital equivalent of paper) and reflecting on how and where I ended up doing what I’m doing.
So I want you to stop and think. What are the things you are thankful for?