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CrossFit and Coding: 3 Lessons for Women and Technology

Yes, it’s January again. Time to act on that New Year resolution and get into the gym to burn off those holiday excesses. But have you got what it takes to keep going back?

Here’s Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles), our User Experience Developer in Oracle’s México Development Center, to tell us about how her CrossFit experience not only challenges the myths about fierce workouts being something only for the guys but about what that lesson can teach us about coding and women in technology too…

Introducing CrossFit: Me Against Myself

Heard about CrossFit? In case you haven’t, it’s an intense fitness program with a mix of weights, cardio, other exercises, and a lot of social media action too about how much we love doing CrossFit.

CrossFit is also a great way to keep fit and to make new friends. Most workouts are so tough that you’re left all covered in sweat, your muscles are on fire, and you feel like it's going to be impossible to even move the next day.

But you keep doing it anyway. 

One of the things I love most about CrossFit is that it is super dynamic. The Workout of the Day (WOD) is a combination of activities, from running outside, gymnastics, weight training, to swimming. You’re never doing the same thing two days in a row. 

Sounds awesome, right? Well, it is!

But some people, particularly women, unfortunately think CrossFit will make them bulk up and they’ll end up with HUGE muscles! A lot of people on the Internet are saying this, and lots of my friends believe it too: CrossFit is really for men and not women. 

From CrossFit to CrossWIT: Women in Techology (WIT)

Just like with CrossFit, there are many young women who also believe that coding is something meant only for men. Seems crazy, but let's be honest, hiring a woman who knows how to code can be a major challenge (my manager can tell you about that!).

So, why aren't women interested in either coding or lifting weights? Or are they? Is popular opinion the truth, that there are some things that women shouldn't do rather than cannot do?

The reality is that CrossFit won't make you bulk up like a bodybuilder, any more than studying those science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) subjects in school won’t make you any less feminine. Women have been getting the wrong messages about gender and technology from the media and from advertising since we were little girls. We grew up believing that intense workout programs, just like learning computer languages, and about engineering, science and math, are “man’s stuff”. And then we wonder where are the women in technology?!

3 Lessons to Challenge Conventions and Change Yourself

So, wether you are interested in these things, or not, I would like to point out 3 key lessons, based on my experience, that I am sure would help you in some stage of your life: 

  1. Don't be afraid of defying those gender stereotypes. You can become whatever you want to be: a successful doctor, a great programmer, or even a CrossFit professional. Go for it!

  2. Choosing to be or to do something different from what others consider “normal” can be hard, but keep doing it! There are talented women in many fields of work who, despite the stereotypes, are awesome professionals, are respected for what they do, and have become key parts of their organizations and companies. Coding is a world largely dominated by men now, with 70% of the jobs taken by males, but that does not stop us from challenging and changing things so that diversity makes the tech industry a better place for everyone

  3. If you are interested in coding, computer science, or technology in general, keep up with your passion by learning more from others by reading the latest tech blogs, for example. If you don't know where to start, here are some great examples to inspire you: our own VoX, Usable Apps, and AppsLab blogs. Read up about the Oracle Women in Technology (WIT) program too.

I'm sure you'll find something of interest in the work Oracle does and you can use our resources to pursue your interests in a career in technology! And who knows? Maybe you can join us at an Oracle Applications User Experience event in the future. We would love to see you there and meet you in person.

I think you will like what you can become! Just like the gym, don’t wait until next January to start.

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