There aren't a lot of female software engineers out there, but being one is not all that bad! I love being a software engineer, for many reasons that are not gender-specific: the excitement of new releases that impact real users, working with an awesome team, being an active part of the thriving Palo Alto startup community... But then there are a lot of reasons that I love being a female software engineer.
While I'm sure lots of male engineers appreciate the casual engineer dress code, I really appreciate it. For men, assorted button-down shirts and slacks will suffice for business-casual attire, but women seem to have some pressure to "update their wardrobe" and "accessorize." As for me? My college wardrobe transitioned seamlessly into my work wardrobe. Now, standard work apparel is t-shirt and jeans, accessorized with a pair of flip-flops, sneakers, sanuks, or if I am feeling particularly fun, my vibrams. I don't really enjoy or have time to go shopping, so this works out well.
The odds are really freaking good, and only some of the goods are odd. Sure there are a bunch of socially awkward engineers, but because of the sheer scarcity of women in the field, if you are a single female you can have first pick of a lot of really nice available guys. I met my husband Tyler while we were both working for Google in NY, and he has said that he's glad he met me before he moved out to California. With the scarcity of women in software, I don't envy any of the single male software engineers in Silicon Valley.
I've actually never worked somewhere that has more women than men, but I suspect that working with mostly men keeps the workplace drama-free. Not that all or most women are moody drama queens, but you know, it happens. It just seems to happen less with men.
While I would of course love to see more women in the industry, a perk of being one of the few is that people remember you. If you go to a tech event or conference and meet 30 male developers and 2 female developers, you will probably remember their names, or at least their faces. You also get the added bonus of seeing people's confused reactions when they ask you if you're in marketing, and you tell them that you are a developer.
It's just nice to have some women in a male-dominated workspace. They generally remember to shower every so often, and if you ever bring brownies to work, you're suddenly everyone's favorite person for at least a few minutes (though this is true for males as well). Sure, if you're a real bitch, no one's going to like you, but most female engineers are easy to get along with and are well-liked and appreciated in their team. It makes it a little less like, hey look at all this testosterone fueling our coding hackathons in this smelly room.
If you're a female software engineer, feel free to comment on any benefits you've experienced either compared to men in the field, or compared to women in other fields!