Mother-daughter bonding, 2008.
I took this photo while I was doing a series of portraits of people illuminated by their screens. My mom is a database programmer for a very large insurance company, and I thought she’d be a great addition to the photo series. After snapping a few portraits, she suggested we take a picture together.
My mom and I moved to the US in 1995, half a year after my dad went to Ohio State for grad school. We thought we were visiting for a few months and ended up staying for 18 years (and counting!). Despite her prestigious college degree and previous job as a high-ranking chemical engineer, she had an impossible time finding work in the US: no local accreditations, no work permits, no English.
So she did what lots of other women in our community did: she waited tables at Chinese restaurants full-time to support our entire family while also going to community college full-time to get a computer science degree. My mom has no real love of technology and she’s not responsible for my web-obsession, but she’s a damn good coder and I cherish the moments when we can both curl up with our laptops in the dark, like this one.
When we talk about “women in tech”, how often do we think about the women who work corporate, not startup, jobs? Of immigrant women and their stories? How often, for that matter, do we think of anyone not living on the coasts? When we don’t, we’re missing a big part of the picture.
And that sucks for you, because my mom is awesome.