Women in Technology #2, Bvsh Hovse

This evening despite the most atrocious precipitation we met up at Bvsh Hovse for our second Women in Technology meet. Sheila Thomson, software engineer at the World Service was our host and booked us a cosy arrangement of sofas in the corner of the legendary Fish Bar.

After discarding weather soaked items to drip-dry and introductions, Sheila gave us an enlightening talk on her recent experiences at FOSDEM – Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting. The event is free to attend, one just needs to sort out your travel, accommodation and food. Sheila suggested that going in a group is a good strategy, as it’s not an especially social event where you’ll chat to random geeks. There were thousands of attendees and a boggling amount of tracks, lightning talks, developer rooms and stands to attend or visit. Among her highlights were the Richard Clayton talk on evils of the internet – scams, fishing and more, and the Mozilla room for lightning talks, including a talk on WoMoz – Women in Mozilla.

The rest of the evening was full of lively conversation & views, we had a brief conversation about Computer Engineer Barbie, the consensus was that this was a good thing overall, even though we had mixed views on her pink accessories. It was also mentioned that in a review of Computer Engineer Barbie the issue of wearing glasses as a geek stereotype came up, a look around the table revealed that bar one of us, we were all wearing glasses.

Libby asked if Dorothy and I had formulated a mission statement / set of intentions for WIT – a good question (+ I realise that I didn’t address this in my post from the inaugural meet) so as I’ve been thinking about this for a while, my intentions / motivations for WIT are quite formulated already: to raise the profile of women in tech via sharing and discussing training and career opportunities, demystifying roles and projects in different departments, mentoring & hearty encouragement. To make our workplace a more attractive place for women to work / apply for roles and extend this via visiting career fairs, higher education visits, making job specs more enticing. Also to encourage more kids, girls, boys, adults to take up tech subjects and have fun / build careers via demos and talking at tech events such as Maker Faires, BarCamps & hackdays.

Quick whizz around some of the other subjects that came up during the evening:
• BarCamps / unconferences
• Speaking in public about tech subjects
• Encouraging kids to play with tech & what’s out there
• Gender stereotyping through toys, colours & dress
• Schooling, opportunities, behaviours and gender
• Robots & programmable tech for kids
• Gadget talk
• Epiphany / changing your world via coding

Actions / intentions
• Monthly regular meet so we can plan ahead
• Have meetings in various buildings / locations for variety & fun
• Update the wiki / email mailing lists
• Variations on meet themes / events
• Have some practical / speaker evenings for example speaking techniques
• Plan an awayday – yay!

Thanks to everyone for coming – I certainly had a fab time 😀



  1. Sorry to have missed this one – would have been cool to meet lovely new lady-geeks and also enter the chat about Binary Barbie.

    Roll on the next one!

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