When Sheree launched Women Who Code Belfast, I was immediately supportive. I read the blurb and found it refreshing that WWCB was only open to individuals who identified as female. I thought that this was probably the best thing to happen to the NI Tech Scene since Belfast Open Coffee Club (back in about 2007). That’s a long time to wait for disruption.
I don’t mind being excluded at all. I’ve not gone to the Girl Geek Dinners because it’s a chance for women in the industry to network and support each other. I have no issues with this. God knows I’ve railed against the Bro-culture, the Beer-culture and the ‘rock out with…’-culture for years. That’s the sort of puerile shit that I hate having to deal with and I think there should be events that not only do not promote these activities, but that actively discourage them. Sadly the perpetrators are talented and popular and do not consider their culture as oppression (which is pretty much the dictionary definition of a bully).
Also, I work with dozens of businesses that are entirely male. And dozens more where women are represented in secretarial, catering or sanitation roles. It’s incredibly refreshing to me to see women representing for themselves. So much so that I was simultaneously embarrassed and proud when I was hiding at the back of the Women in Business event at CultureTECH in 2013 and both @cittiecait and @lyramckee singled me out as being a real help to their ‘getting into the local industry’. These two women, like Sheree (@nirushika), needed no help. If I gave any help, it was a privilege for me.
I read Annette’s blog with much interest:
The idea isn’t to get together a group of Women Who Code, wrap them up in a little bubble and keep them there. It’s not to exclude the men of the industry, WWC Belfast officially launches on the 2nd of April with a line up of speakers female and male. I believe that this group was sorely needed in Belfast and that it increases the awareness that there are in fact, many women who code.
I know I’m white, male, western and loaded with privilege. I’m also a Humanist, which means that I will not only treat every human as equals but that I will work to end inequality. We have a society rife with inequality and we all need to work to fix it.
With the future in the hands of women like Sheree, Catherine, Annette and Lyra, I can be optimistic. I enjoy working with and conversing with some of the finest people I have ever met; Mary McKenna, Joanne Stuart, Adrianne Peltz, Kim Johnston, Fiona McIlroy, Angie McKeown, Ellen Murray, Tina McKenzie, Alison Crawford, Danielle Barrios-O’Neill, Oonagh Murphy, Emma Leahy, Anita Murphy, Paula Cairns and dozens more. And it should be hundreds more.
Some of them will be at BelTech this year. Some at Women Who Code. Some of them will be at other events. They’re easily google-able, easily found on Twitter. So find them and listen to them. They’re awesome.