My /rolleyes moment
So, I organised “female-friendly” workshops. I’ve gotten feedback from a few individuals in the past on why I don’t organise workshops for men, and some apologised for asking it that way, but I know what they meant. There aren’t many adult tech workshops around town at the moment, but I’m working on that. I’ve written in my first post on why I organise events like these, but this subject keeps cropping up.
I recently received an email from a lady who didn’t like the label “female-friendly”, and I don’t disagree with her. I, myself, don’t like labels, but at the current stage, there’s no other terminology to describe an event that is open and encouraging to a more diverse audience to participate, especially women. If people talk/ask me about participation, I’m normally quite lax about it. It’s about trying to get a balance and creating an environment that’s not scary and full of “smart geek guys”. TBH, I still have those worries whenever I see tech events I want to go to. The reason for the complaint was that the term was insulting and painted a picture that the tech industry is unfriendly to women. I understand her opinion about it be insulting, the term can mean different things to different people and I think the term originated from the States (but don’t quote me on that). I would like to find or come up with a term that fits our culture here in Ireland, something that people would understand instead of being alienated/annoyed with. The latter, however, is quite true. She nailed it without realising, the tech industry is not female-friendly, that’s what Coding Grace, PyLadies Dublin and many other female organisations in Ireland (and globally) are trying to help and change. I am open to change in how we approach things, as long as it’s feedback that is constructive. And that means I will ignore trollers.
This feedback was slightly shocking but I was expecting it, and I was glad to respond and explain the process on how the Coding Grace collective came about using it, as the truth was, we can’t find any other better alternative.
At least Coding Grace pays homage to Grace Hopper as our role model, and it doesn’t feel like it’s shoving female issues down on anyone (I try not to anyway). It’s about promoting, sharing, bringing people together, give them courage to go to events outside of Coding Grace and even get involved more in those events.
These groups were created for a reason, and from my experience, I wish there was something like this back when I was in college back 15 years ago (wow, that long ago, I’m old!). I hate the feeling of being isolated when I walk into a room and wondering if I fit in, or is it wrong that I don’t understand everything they talk about when networking and what do they think of me?
Came across this great post on how one person decided to stop worrying and instead, just love PyLadies. You can read it here: https://hynek.me/articles/how-i-stopped-worrying-and-started-loving-pyladies/
I will have to give a talk on why I am doing what I am doing, people are misconstrued on my intentions and from the feedback I get and enquiries about the workshops, it needs to be tended to in order to avoid any more confusions on my direction and goals of the groups I’m involved in.
+1 for diversity; -1 message about diversity
That’s how I feel, it’s like one step forward and two steps back (heehee, see what I did there), but I have a lot of support and just need to make it even more transparent.
And finally, if anyone find a better word to promote the diversity events I run aside from female-friendly, do let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and thank you for taking your time to read this long rambling post. ヾ(´∀｀)ﾉ