> In my computer classes I am almost the only woman present. . . . I have wondered, just what do I think am I doing?
No one will tell you that a career in open source or in engineering is
easy, but the Hard Parts for me at least are not related to being
female. It has taken me years to realize that applying my analytical
abilities to my career would be beneficial in addition to obsessing
constantly about my technical work. Once you realize that no one
is going to tell you what to do, and that you need to figure out your
core values and start from them, everything else gets easier, but now
I sound like a bad after-dinner speaker.
In my experience, being female has advantages as well as
disadvantages. For example, people who had me as a Lab T.A. 20
years ago often remember me, which is great as long as they remember
me being capable instead of being a dork. People who want to
bring balance to committees and panel discussions may select you as
long as you stand where they can see you. And so forth.
So don't despair: give it a shot. You can always choose later to
compromise and pursue a path that you will enjoy less.