Last Friday I was invited to talk about GeekGirl Meetup at Digital Shoreditch Festival. The theme of the day was 'Identity' with the focus on exploring spaces that connects individuals and collectives within the digital world. To talk about GeekGirl Meetup felt particularly important as it is a concept that has proven to work to establish more female role models and networks within web, code and startups.
With the definition that an 'identity has unique identifying characteristics of which this person is recognised', being a GeekGirl certainly supports a part of my identity. You can be a geek in many different ways but, to me at least, it communicates that you have a particular thing that you are truly passionate about, it may be a certain programming language, UX or social media, the key is that it is something you get joy from doing.
Passion is also supported by having likeminded people around you who can inspire and educate your interests, and this is exactly what you get out of a GeekGirl Meetup.
The response from the talk seemed very positive and one of the questions I got was "how you could get more females to sign up to speak at conferences ?". This is a topic that has been under discussion at the last two GGMs and although we may not have a good answer right now it is something that we will have to continue thinking about until we can see a more even distribution of male and female speakers at tech conferences/events. Personally I hesitated when I was asked talk at Digital Shoreditch but at the same time I decided to just say YES and I'm really happy I did as I do believe it will make it a little bit easier to say YES next time.
So to any event organiser out there my advice is to approach women in person and ask them to speak, and if necessary ask them again, and again. And to all the women, don't hesitate, say YES, it might be scary the first time but from then on it will only get easier.
You can find the slides from the talk here.
This blogpost is also published here.