A regular spot at the PASS Summit is the Women in Technology lunch. This year is no different.
A few years ago, I was on a panel for discussion at the lunch. The last couple of years though, have changed format, and have an interview focus, with a champion for WiT. This year, Angie Chang is being interviewed about an initiative called HackBright, which helps women form careers in IT. Angie has also been involved with Girl Geek Dinners.
HackBright has classes which are only women. This is terrific, and men in technology need to understand how important this is.
My daughter goes to a girls' school. She can learn there without any prejudice about which activities are suited to boys, and which are more suited to girls. So she learns how to program a robot, she plays cricket, as well as gymnastics, dance, and choir. She sees no differentiation between these things, and will be able to discover skills that she might not have developed if she'd had to compete against boys. I don't play cricket myself, but I know that in co-ed schools, it's only really the boys that play cricket or program computers.
Angie is talking about scholarships that are available through HackBright, sponsored by some of the leading employers in the IT space. Clearly there are companies who have realised the value of technical women, and who want to ensure that their companies are welcoming to women. They talk about increasing the number of women who are getting into IT, but also understanding that if organisations don't provide cultures that encourage to stay and develop their careers there, then the efforts of companies like HackBright get wasted, and the IT industry doesn't improve.
A question has just come in from a guy who has a 16yo daughter in the San Francisco area, and he's asked if his daughter is welcome to go to the Girl Geek Dinners.
Naturally, the answer is yes. 🙂