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Women Challenge Gender Stereotypes With #ILookLikeAnEngineer

After an engineer from California posted a photo of herself with the hashtag, women descended on social media to contribute their photos and badass skills.

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Anchalee, who works in the San Francisco Bay Area, spoke of the mistreatment she has received both in the workplace — a colleague once threw dollar bills at her during work hours — and as a result of an engineering recruitment ad that features her photo, shown above.

The 22-year-old writes:

There is a significant lack of empathy and insight towards recognizing that their "playful/harmless" behavior is responsible for making others inappropriately uncomfortable. This industry's culture fosters an unconscious lack of sensitivity towards those who do not fit a certain mold. I'm sure that every other women and non-male identifying person in this field has a long list of mild to extreme personal offenses that they've just had to tolerate. I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble, fired or ruin anyone's life. I just want to make it clear that we are all humans, and there are certain patterns of behavior that no one should have to tolerate while in a professional environment.

Near the bottom of her essay, Anchalee (her middle name, which she prefers over the surname featured in the OneLogin ad) posted this photo of herself.

Isis Anchalee / Via medium.com

She holds a sign that reads, "I help build enterprise software. #ILookLikeAnEngineer," followed by her Twitter handle.

She then issued a call to action to other female engineers she knew.

@MichelleGlauser What if we started a hashtag campaign #iLookLikeAnEngineer with other people posting photos/holding testimonials?

Within a few hours, engineers from far and wide chimed in with their laundry lists of accomplishments in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

#ILookLikeAnEngineer Embeded software for medical systems. 15 years an engineer and loving every minute of life 😃👍

I was one of the earliest engs @Pinterest; I've worked on infra, api, web, ads, homefeed & more #ILookLikeAnEngineer

Proud Latina. English major -> Mobile Dev. I love hip-hop music, dog videos, and yasssing. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

I'm an iOS Engineer, creator of @WeReadTooApp. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

I run the npm registry. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

Hiiiiiiiii I'm an Engineer @GitHub! #iLookLikeAnEngineer

Developed an app that securely overwrites & deletes Android metadata. Now I'm a cyber engineer #ilooklikeanengineer

The hashtag encouraged participants to directly challenge the issue of equating one's appearance with their abilities as an engineer.

I have another photo to share for #ILookLikeAnEngineer. Every single woman in this photo is a software engineer.

#ILookLikeAnEngineer because no matter how I dress, I still can code.

I'm Korean, Dominican, Spanish, and five feet tall. I write code all day. I wear lipstick. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

Breaking the mold. #ILookLikeAnEngineer No, not the guy in the hat. The gal with the curly fro. #chemicalengineer

They listed their quirky interests right alongside their specialized skill sets.

I build accessible UIs, have a CS degree, actually dream about bug fixes... & collect food hats. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

Mothers (and mothers-to-be) also showed up.

#MomOps to 3 {autism, T1 Diabetes, & Tethered Spinal Cord} Ops, Infrastructure, Full Stackaroni #ILookLikeAnEngineer

I've put Java, C#, Ruby, Golang, JavaScript, & a baby into Production this year. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

I'm female, wear pink and I'm pregnant. I'm also a full stack software engineer. #ILookLikeAnEngineer

At least one mom claimed the space for her daughter...

I love to code my own Minecraft mods. #ILookLikeAnEngineer and can't wait to be one someday. #proudmama

...while another proud son used the hashtag to celebrate his mother.

My mom, Perl hacker, 20+ years sys analyst. Nuclear physicist. Started coding on punch cards! #iLookLikeAnEngineer

Some even disclosed that they achieved their dreams without a high school diploma. (Anchalee also wrote in her Medium piece that she dropped out.)

#ILookLikeAnEngineer even though I don't even have a high school diploma! :)

Since the hashtag took off, people have created websites that collect images, and designed T-shirts, the proceeds of which will be donated to a charity of Anchalee's choosing.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Anchalee for comment.

Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tamerra Griffin at tamerra.griffin@buzzfeed.com.

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