Tonight we had our inaugural Women in Technology meet at the TVC Bar in W12. My colleague Dorothy Molloy, senior software engineer, and I had been kicking around ideas for a meet for a while and if you’d read my last year’s resolutions you’ll know that I’ve wanted to put on an event or do something promoting / encouraging women in technology for a while now.
At the last BeeBCamp in November I ran a session on ‘Who gives a **** about women in technology’ which did result in some lively discussion and when I mooted the idea of a meet up in the future it was favourably met. The end of the year seemed to fly by and never found the right time to have a meet before Xmas and it was looking like we were fast approaching February when the Clay Shirky “A Rant About Women’ came to my attention via Twitter and I knew it was something that should be discussed further – not least because everyone had a different opinion on whether it is seriously patronising, tongue in cheek or something else! Also my colleague Jamillah Knowles wrote her thoughts up in a blog post which in turn caused more comments from friends closer to home.
Anyway, this evening at rather short notice and not overly publicised, we met up in the aforementioned bar and some really interesting discussion took place. Attendees came from all over the corporation: Vision, Learning, FM&T, Journalism, Radio, News and World Service. After introductions, the Clay Shirky blog post started us off and as expected views were varied and it was really interesting to hear how many interpretations of reading between the lines this post could generate, but we didn’t really stick to talking about this post for too long and went off on a voyage of personal experiences and thoughts across the piece.
Subjects for discussion included:
- Experiences of women in technology in different cultures – is there a difference?
- How many women in technology progress up or stay at the bottom?
- Competitive behaviour between women
- Pay and gender
- Finding out about career opportunities / strategies across departments
- Roles / competencies
- Is there patriarchal society in the West?
- Confidence, arrogance and bullshitting
- Connection between programming, music and maths
- Training vs learning on the job
- Fun geeky persuits: Failblog, B3ta, geek chic, etc
A great night all round with really varied views and experiences, we will definitely meet again soon for more civillised discussion!
PS. I must thank LJ Rich for teaching us how to impersonate a goat – very handy ;-)