• Female coder's inspirational letter to 8-year-old niece warms the heart
03.06.13

Female coder's inspirational letter to 8-year-old niece warms the heart

I’ve written a fair amount on the ever-evolving conversation taking place regarding women in the game/tech industry. It’s fair to say that the topic basically blew up in the past year – from Women vs. Tropes to the controversies of E3 to the more recent #objectify – a Twitter campaign meant to subject male writers to the same scrutiny female writers have to deal with. It’s genuinely exciting – and I personally feel that it’s a very positive thing that the larger culture is taking the conversation seriously, but there’s also backlash and anger awash in the topic.

Recently, there’s been a rush of hope for the younger generation – first, the news about the incredible Zora Ball, a little girl who became the youngest person to make a full game – and now, Future Woman in Tech.

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Coder and writer Stacey Mulcahy has written possibly the most heartfelt piece on the topic, a letter to her 8-year-old niece concerning her future as a woman in the tech world. 

I woke up to my niece's phone call today. She had called to tell me that she finally had an answer to that fateful forever question of "what do you want to be when you grow up". She wanted to make video games. This didn’t really surprise me - she always had a knack for summarizing complex game play in a few words. What did surprise me, however, was my inability to go back to sleep after that call. I lay awake, thinking about her future career choice, about how things are now, and how much I wish I could change them for her. I got up, and I wrote her this letter.

What follows is a series of “I hope” statements, drawn out of equal parts frustration and hopefulness, for her niece and every other young woman who chooses a career in the field.

Some are funny. 

I hope that you attend conferences and find yourself complaining about long lines for the bathroom.

And: 

I hope that you embrace your own inner honey badger.

Others are downright painful.

I hope that you will speak about your expertise. And that when you do, people won’t use some form of social media to point out your body issues. The only body on display, is your body of work. 

The entire missive reads like the best persuasive writing – charming, biting, honest, and ultimately hopeful. I hope for all the things Mulcahy wants as well – and for all 8-year-old girls to feel like they have a place in this industry, when they’re ready to work.