Geek Feminism Wiki

Women sometimes leave a technical career or technical hobbies behind. This might be a departure from a particular workplace or community, an extended hiatus, or a complete departure. 


This is a partial list of some reasons particular women might leave, or appear to leave, tech. Some women may have multiple factors influencing their decision. Some reasons may apply to all genders, but affect women and other marginalized groups more strongly. 

  • The rewards of remaining have been outweighed by the drawbacks. 
  • Another position looked more interesting, although it was less technical. 
  • Another position was better compensated, although it was less technical. 
  • The new position was less technical than advertised. 
  • A new position in a non-technical role, which nonetheless uses technical skills. 
  • Lack of meaningful mentorship. 
  • No longer willing to put up with a sustained campaign of targeted harassment. 
  • No longer willing to put up with general ambient levels of harassment. 
  • Ambient levels of harassment have increased.  
  • Horribleness in other parts of her life has increased, decreasing her ability and/or willingness to put up with horribleness in tech.  
  • Horribleness in tech that replicates/exacerbates earlier unrelated trauma (e.g. workplace dynamics that replicate abusive school dynamics; micromanaging managers reminiscent of micromanaging parents, etc.)  
  • Intersectional oppressions (e.g. a boss who does not see Asian women as technically competent and does not defend her during layoffs; an executive scheduling a mandatory meeting upstairs in a building with no elevator or ramps, telling a wheelchair user to "crawl", and censuring her reaction as too emotional; etc.)  
  • Moving out of the area. 
  • Her partner is moving for their career, and she is moving with them. 
  • Contributing to projects using a profile that is gender-anonymous or appears to be male. 
  • Contributing only to private projects. 
  • Name change, resulting in the old name becoming inactive in tech (and everywhere).  
  • Change of gender marker (resulting in him/them no longer being erroneously called a woman).  
  • Sabbatical or extended vacation. 
  • Retirement. 
  • Sudden good fortune (won lottery, surprise inheritance, app sold for zillions) resulting in complete financial independence. 
  • Change of hobbies or interests. 
  • Serious illness or injury. 
  • Burnout. 
  • Caring for family members (parents, grandparents, other elders; siblings, partners, close friends; children). 
  • Project was canceled. 
  • Layoff. 
  • Tech bubble burst. 
  • Discouraged from STEM early (see: Leaky pipeline). 
  • Discouraged from remaining in STEM early in career.  
  • Difficulty re-entering the field after a long absence. 

See Also