In my last 2 jobs, I have been the only girl in the office and it was similar through university, which unfortunately is, the norm. Other than developing a sailor’s vocab, I have enjoyed the zen of practicing patience, attention to detail and the high of solving a problem – things inherent in coding and qualities primarily found in women (The studies said it!).
Enter Ladies Learning Code – a women-run not-for-profit group working to empower everyone to feel comfortable learning beginner-friendly technical skills in a social, collaborative way. Each workshop is highly interactive, has 1 lead instructor, a 4:1 ratio of mentors and is extremely intense (in a good way). By the end of it, the students always invariably create a project and learn a ton along the way! Here’s one comment that truly stood out:
— Andrew Konoff (@andrewkonoff) April 6, 2013
(Yes, even guys can attend the classroom!)
I signed up as a mentor even before the event was confirmed and lo and behold – what an experience! The first HTML website some had ever made, had me and the people around me wanting to throw up a little but was it ever a great time. Was I ever in awe of the talent of these ladies! With a little help, a little acceptance and a little push – It was clear that the sky is the limit.
Gloating on how women can excel doesn’t end there. After a couple weeks, I was invited to be a judge at the Girls Tech League by CompCamp. CompCamp is a competition where junior high school girls, under watchful eyes of extremely talented mentors, build mobile phone apps for 3 months along with a business plan before pitching their idea. My mind was blown away by the depth of these young girls, the amount of research they did and their passion for tech entrepreneurship!
After these two events, I do need a reminder of WHY there are not more women in ICT! Do we need more proof that women can excel in tech? Do we need more reason than the fact that so many women have an innate passion for tech?
We must continue to put in the effort to welcome more women, nurture them and make necessary changes in the tech landscape to include them. For starters, I will have a bottle of wine in the beer fridge for Friday at 4pms and let the office fratboys know when they have to draw the line. Will you join me in making these changes?