What trans women can teach cis women (and vice versa) - Daniela Petruzelak, diversity activist

Three years ago, software developer Daniela Petruzalek took the leap to transition to her true female self. One of the first things she had to get over were her own internalized prejudices.

“I come from a family where they had traditional morals and were quite homophobic.” She said. “And I had to deconstruct everything. It took me many years to do so. I was a white cis heterosexual male... and nowadays I'm a lesbian.”

Not only that, she was back to competing in the male-dominated world of tech, but now--as a woman. She immediately noticed the double standards rooted in gender bias.

“The only time in my life I was unemployed was after my transition and took me 6 months to get a new job.” She told me. “When you send resumes as a man, even if you aren't a fit for the role, the people will call you and talk to you. But when you send a resume as a woman they expect you to have like 100 percent of the skills or they wouldn't want to even start talking with you.”

Now Daniela uses this knowledge to fight for diversity and inclusion in the tech world. Learn what trans women can teach cis women—and vice versa—in our conversation.

Daniela Petruzelak

Daniela Petruzelak

"I am powerful by just living" - Sarah McBride, author of "Tomorrow Will Be Different"

In 2016, Sarah McBride made history--and a childhood dream come true when she stood on the stage at the the Democratic National Convention as the first transgender person to speak at a national political convention. As of 2018, more than half of LGBTQ people live in states that don’t protect them from discrimination or are even actively hostile towards them. Some states have enacted laws that allow businesses, healthcare providers and government officials to actually deny services to LGBTQ people.

In the most challenging moments--the 2016 election results, everyday sexism and misogyny and the death of her young husband-- even then she fights to update our laws to protect and include LGBTQ people.

Sarah is now the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. And she’s the author of the new book, “Tomorrow Will Be Different. Love, Loss and the Fight for Trans Equality.”

RESOURCES referred to on this episode:

Human Rights Campaign

Transgender Law Center

Sarah McBride (photo by B Proud)

Sarah McBride (photo by B Proud)

How To Re-Design How Girls Learn STEM - Suz Somersall, KiraKira

From her childhood as a self-confessed gaming nerd to her career as an engineering-inspired artist (or is it art-inspired engineer?), Suz Somersall has made a life of her own design. She's now the founder of KiraKira, a learning program that makes girls feel confident and excited about creating new products using 3D printing, design-thinking and STEAM concepts. This week on "Inflection Point," Suz shares how, despite a career full of pivots, one's life can ultimately lead in the same direction all along. 

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How To Be A Female Founder - Live From Women In Product, Silicon Valley

This fall, I was invited to moderate a panel for a conference put on by Women In Product, a non-profit formed to create a strong community of women builders and leaders in the tech industry. My panel included four female founders of technology companies: Cheryl Contee of Fission Strategy, Heather Fernandez of Solv, Selina Tobaccowala of Gixo and Aarthi Ramamurthy of Lumoid.

You’ll hear what surprised each of them about starting a company, the pros and cons of running a company while female, from leadership style to sexual harassment and gender bias–and ultimately as business-people what it takes to scale.

Selina Tobaccowala, Aarthi Ramamurthy, Heather Fernandez, Cheryl Contee and Lauren Schiller  Photo courtesy of Women In Product

Selina Tobaccowala, Aarthi Ramamurthy, Heather Fernandez, Cheryl Contee and Lauren Schiller

Photo courtesy of Women In Product

Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code

Only about a quarter of computer professionals are women--and that's actually down from 1990 when it was 36%. Girls Who Code is a non-profit organization whose mission is to change all that by closing the gender gap in computer science. Founded in 2012 by Reshma Saujani, the program is on track to educate more than 40,000 girls in all 50 states this year. Her goal: one million women in computer science by 2020. And we'll need them. In less than 10 years, the United States will have 1.7 million jobs for engineers and computing professionals. Without girls, we will literally not have enough qualified people to fill these jobs. 

RESHMA SAUJANI

RESHMA SAUJANI