Randi Zuckerberg gets real about working as a woman in Silicon Valley: 'I wished I was invisible'
It’s no secret — trying to work up the ladder as a woman in any male-dominated industry isn’t an easy feat.
One area that's notoriously been especially harsh for women is the technology industry.
The lack of female representation in Silicon Valley is deep-rooted and still prevalent, but the only way towards making any sort of disruption or change to what has become the norm in that sector of business is by getting — and keeping — more women interested and hopeful in the worlds of science and technology.
Perhaps no one knows that better than Randi Zuckerberg, who rapidly shot to the forefront of Silicon Valley after her brother created this social media platform that you’ve probably never heard of before: Facebook.
Speaking candidly at the 6th Annual Mom Mogul Breakfast panel (presented by Alyne and hosted by Lyss Stern of DivaMoms), Zuckerberg talked about her early days working for Facebook and how it helped push her to carve a space in the tech world for women in the future:
“After about 10 years in Silicon Valley, I had a bit of a complicated relationship — on one hand, I loved what I was doing, it was incredible to be on the front lines [of Facebook] like that … but I was literally the only woman in the room for 10 years. And I alternated between feeling invisible or feeling so out there as a woman that I wished I was invisible … for me, I started thinking ‘How do we change that?’ These are high-paying jobs — there are more women than men graduating from college … girls run circles around the boys in school early on! So how the hell did we get to the point with these high-paying jobs where there are no women in the room? It makes no sense to me. So I started to think about how I could try to make an impact in changing that. And all my research led me back to children. It’s around nine to 10 years old that we lose girls in science and technology.”
It’s this concept of keeping young girls engaged and interested in science and tech from early on that’s propelled Zuckerberg to launch passion projects through her company Zuckerberg Media, such as a kids' TV show called "Dot’" about a “techy” girl who uses top, modern technology to perform everyday tasks (think drones and robots).
But aside from her pursuits in the professional world, Zuckerberg knows that being a mom is a full-time job in and of itself.
Combine raising children with the standalone pressure of trying to make it as a woman in the business world, and making all those facets work in tandem can seem to be a nearly impossible concept.
Though there may be no foolproof formula or "correct" method for balancing all of those moving parts, Zuckerberg’s “Pick three” mindset and technique comes pretty close to doing just that:
"What I finally realized is that no one’s life is perfect, no one has it together and so I have this general life philosophy which is ‘work, sleep, family, friends, fitness — pick three.’ You just can’t pick all five of those in one day and do a great job at all five. You can vary it up and choose a different three on different days and at different times."
It’s not that we can’t have it all — of course we can.
But maybe we should start to view that intersection of career, womanhood, motherhood and realize that we can’t have it all at once, and have it all done well.
And that is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.