Last year (2018), I celebrated La Journée Internationale des Femmes with friends in France. We bought and prepared roses, went to a local grocery plaza and handed out those roses as we told each woman we encountered that they are very valuable. They were shocked at the small, simple, free act of kindness.
It was entirely counter-culture – yet completely honest – to directly tell them: You have tremendous, inherent value.
And they didn’t need to do a thing. Their existence alone provided the reason to share this truth about their worthiness in life. Their value wasn’t earned by behaviors good or bad. Quite frankly, that value was bestowed whether we verbalized it or not. It’s a stand-alone fact of existence.
Yet, for many of the ladies that day – perhaps even most of them, from my observations – it was probably the first time they’d heard those words in a long time, if ever. Their eyes lit up when they were recognized and encouraged, despite coming from strangers….but why? And how can we learn from this an apply it in the tech industry, where gender struggles are often even more pronounced and stratified?
Frankly, I do not have the answers. I have questions. And I have conversations.
“There is a voice inside you that will tell you that you are not good enough, prepared enough, or worthy enough to fulfill your dreams. Quiet that voice.” – Elisa Jagerson, CEO and owner of Speck Design
I think this dialogue is really important, especially in the tech field. The goal isn’t politicization, but humanization. And democratization. And, you know, CREATION…clearly, in world full of problems, we need people to confidently contribute their ideas, talents, grit and knowledge towards solutions.
My goal for this blog is to showcase and offer practical support for women in technology through resources that have helped me. As is often the case, I stand on the shoulders of giants before me, so they need the credit. And yes, of course, I cited them. 🙂
I’m just here to encourage you and clearly say, “YOU HAVE TREMENDOUS, INHERENT VALUE.”
You have it. But do you honestly believe that as you try to reach your dreams, personally and professionally?
From the Make School, A collection on technology, startups, and the future of education:
“For Mentorship & Membership…https://medium.com/make-school/6-resources-for-women-in-tech-f5f3f6392132
National Center for Women & Information Technology — NCWIT wants to revolutionize the face of tech. The organization’s overall goal is to get more women participating in computing. Their website explains, “NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.” NCWIT puts on an annual summit and has a number of programs for company and individual members.
Other organizations that bring together communities of women in tech include AnitaB.org, WITI, the Society of Women Engineers, and TechWomen.
Tech Ladies — A great online networking option, Tech Ladies members get access to a great jobs page with access to roles at Slack, Adobe, Etsy, BuzzFeed, and more. Members also get access to the Tech Ladies Facebook group that serves as a great forum for discussion and support as a woman in tech.
Other online networking resources include Y Combinator’s Leap. And if you’re interested in meeting women in person — women in tech in the Bay Area regularly get together for dinner, inspiring talks, and networking through Girl Geek X. A similar breakfast group for NYC women in tech is Techfest.
Women Who Tech — Women Startup Challenges — Supported by such companies as Google, Microsoft, and IBM, the Women Startup Challenges are annual pitch competitions for early-stage women-led tech startups. The goal of each challenge is “to disrupt a culture and economy that has made it exceedingly difficult for women entrepreneurs to access capital.”
Other competitions specifically for women in tech include the Tech Lady Hackathon + Training Day and LadyHacks.
The Refinery — This organization is just three years old, but so far it has helped 39 women-led companies raise over $20 million in funding and paired the leaders with over 90 mentors. The Refinery’s mission is stated quite simply: “To fuel the growth and close the funding gap of women-led companies.”
Other organizations focused on helping women launch successful businesses include Aviatra Accelerators.
Women 2.0 — This blog is filled with helpful information and articles written for women in business. While the site addresses workplace issues generally, many of the articles focus on the tech industry. Women 2.0 also has a helpful job board with many tech jobs around the country.
Other blogs worth checking out include HackerChick and The Female Perspective of Computer Science.
Women’s Venture Capital Fund — This venture capital fund specifically invests in companies led by women that focus on digital media products for women. According to their investment focus page, “Given the universal embrace of digital media and the evolution of technologies, platforms, products and services, the WVCF has identified a myriad of women-centric opportunities in Software Solutions, Mobile Products, Social Media, and Digital Content.”
Other venture capital funds focused on women-led startups include Golden Seeds and the Female Founders Fund.”