I’m going to share a very embarrassing story with you. I first ran into Amy during a time when I was looking at Ruby on Rails as my next step after PHP. Somehow I put two and two together between Amy presenting at a PHP conference I went to and her presence on Rails mailing lists and the Rails channels on IRC. I wrangled her IM address and started talking to her. Of course, I said the wrong thing to her. I made a joke in very poor taste about why don’t all female programmers look like Angelina Jolie in Hackers. As soon as I said it, I realized what a fucking moron I was. It is a testament to Amy’s character that she accepted my apology and even had dinner with me and a bunch of other developers while at the conference. We still talk occasionally and I’d like to think that Amy doesn’t just answer my questions to get me to stop bugging her on IM.
Secondly, Amy is a strong believer in that you shouldn’t care that she is a woman. You should care that she is a person who knows what they are talking about. I’ve found places (stop it, I’m not stalking her via Google) on the internet where she has been involved in discussions about how women in the IT field should stop complaining about being looked down-upon because they are women and rise above it all. Are women given a rough time by the sausage factory that is IT? They sure are. But Amy says “you’re above all that shit, just go out there and do your thing.” I’ve mentioned Amy to my oldest daughter as a woman who’s been successful in the field of computer programming, and that she would be hard pressed to find a better role model.