Think you know what an engineer looks like? #ilooklikeanengineer says think again

A Twitter hashtag that challenges race and gender stereotypes in the technology industry took off in San Francisco Tuesday, with dozens of engineers posting their photos to the social network alongside the hashtag #ilooklikeanengineer.

Software engineer Isis Anchalee kicked off the movement over the weekend when she called her fellow engineers to action to make a point about how diverse engineers can be.

In a personal essay published on Medium, Anchalee detailed the skepticism and sexism she faced after appearing in a recruiting ad for her employer, enterprise software company OneLogin. Among the negative feedback received were comments from people who questioned whether she was even an engineer because she didn’t fit the industry stereotype of a young, white or Asian male.

“This industry’s culture fosters an unconscious lack of sensitivity towards those who do not fit a certain mold,” Anchalee wrote. She finished her essay by inviting engineers to help “redefine ‘what an engineer should look like.’ ”

The call to action was met with a strong response, with engineers from start-ups such as NPM to larger corporations including Microsoft and Pinterest posting their photos alongside the hashtag. The hashtag drew posts from men and women and was still trending as of Tuesday morning.

Diversity in the technology industry has been a hot-button issue, with companies in Silicon Valley recently revealing their workforce numbers and making commitments to hire and retain more diverse teams. In the past year alone, companies such as Google, Intel and Apple have committed hundreds of millions of dollars toward diversity efforts, while Pinterest made its diversity hiring goals public last month.

Twitter: @traceylien

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