As a technical woman, this is your introduction and the first thing you have to learn is how to get back up and walk right back into a situation where the likelihood of getting punished for participating is one. How you choose to react to this determines the rest of your career in technology. If it’s too painful you’ll retreat to management, if you can tough it out your career will be limited because the very tools you develop to survive have other social consequences.
…Overall it’s awesome to encounter other women because while you grow accustomed to quirks of a room full of men (the jostling, the chest beating, the pissing contests, the egos, etc.), it does get old. When another woman is thrown into that mix, you get to avoid the old script and reevaluate the dynamic so it’s more interesting. However, you and everyone else is accustomed to women in the facilitator manager role, not in the making technical decisions role. Typically your collaborative and directional contributions almost always fare better than your technical contributions. If you pay attention to those social cues, you may start to subtly pull yourself out of the rough and tumble technical decision making and retreat into the facilitation role. If you ignore the social cues, you have to assert yourself aggressively into the technical conversation and take some lumps. If you choose that aggressive path, you wil be even more alone because those likely less technical women in the room with you don’t have the expertise to back you up.