Last month, I took my 5 year old daughter Alena to her first Seattle Storm’s basketball game. In the past, she has occasionally watched sports with me. But it was something deeply special to me as a father to see her eyes light up as she watched her first WNBA game.
Before we went, however, one of the first questions Alena asked prior to the game was whether we were watching “boys or girls” play. She was even a bit skeptical when I told her that we would be watching “girls” play.
I was dismayed by her skepticism, but could I really blame her? Up to this point, every professional sporting event we watched were “boys.” 5-year-old’s are astute. She'd never seen “girls” play, rationalizing it as something's “girls” can't or didn't want to do.
Unfortunately, these oversimplifications are all too prevalent as the status quo, especially in tech. The infamous Google “manifesto” is a prime example of how this backward mindset perpetuates gender stereotypes.
What this basketball game taught me was how we overcome this mindset. The experience expanded her notions of what it meant to be an athlete and she instantly became a fan: She cheered “Go Storm!” the entire game! She pleaded for “DEFENSE!” She was genuinely upset when the team was down and she was over-the-moon ecstatic when The Storm came back and won.
I couldn’t have been prouder or happier to see so much passion coming out of my 5-year-old. It served as a reminder of my responsibility to expand her exposure to women kicking butt, nurture her passions, and make sure she always knows that the possibilities of what she can accomplish are endless.
Chief Talent Officer