Glossing over the fact that no lady has been forced out of the industry at gunpoint or put in jail or forced to hide in an attack from Nazis because she's a woman who codes...
Yes, a person can stand between you and a goal, whether it's a judge denying you your legal freedom or a biased individual who chooses not to hire you for some completely illegitimate reason.
But what kind of power is that? They can't take away your ability to get something out of the situation, to regroup and take a different approach next time.
Allow me to illustrate what I mean with regards to the sexist/racist hiring manager/interviewer/whatever. What is the end goal for the applicant who is discriminated against? That particular job, or some other measure of success?
Absolutely somebody can stand in your way on one avenue, but there are always other avenues... I don't believe that "when one door closes, another opens," I believe that when one door closes, you still find yourself in a hallway with infinite doors whose handles can be jiggled, wiggled, turned and sometimes even forced. Unless the complete end goal of your life's attempt to work is that one particular job, there is always a way to route around such issues and succeed on your own terms.
Successful people—for whatever value of "success" you are interested in—don't give up at the first, second, or fiftieth stumbling block they find in their way. If it's not a racist or sexist interviewer, it's an unsupportive family, a child who requires time and attention, or a medical condition that makes it hard to get in a full 8 hours of work a day. There are infinite things that cause people to struggle. And we universally laud those who struggle against those difficulties.
Have I faced sexism? Sure. Have I worked on jobs/projects with people who wouldn't listen to me because I was "just a designer"? Absolutely. Have I had bitter people tell me I wouldn't succeed because I chose a different path than them, or dared to dream beyond what they could dream? Can't count how many times. And much worse, besides, but this is not going to turn into my own little pity party.
Believe me, I have had my share of trouble in this life -- more than you expect from my writing and bearing, I'm sure. But I'm not crushed. I've fought to get to where I am, and here I am writing about the things that helped me turn my life around.
I have never claimed that the playing field is even. But I do believe that what you do with the playing field is more important than where you start off.