Editor note: The following is a guest post contributed by the members of Thursday Code Pub, a Stockholm-based initiative to help more women become interested an active in software development, and of course to become more active in the software community in Stockholm. Behind the initiative are Carolina Edgren, Annie Thorell among others.
The IT industry is a largely male-dominated area, which is disabling the entire industry to maintain its competitiveness as diversity is key in order to increase motivation and creativity, enhance performance and much more. We believe that competence has no gender and we are out to make a change. Therefore we have created a meet-up for women who want to learn more about IT and open for beginners as well as professionals. Our goal is to create a platform where one can BE INSPIRED AND INSPIRE OTHERS while BECOMING A BETTER DEVELOPER.
The initiative we have started is called “Thursday Code Pub” and it has been nothing short of a success, it only took a couple of days to reach 100 members on Facebook and new members are joining almost every day. We recently created an official meet up on meetup.com and we are expanding to Munich and Oslo.
The main success factor, was that we involved the target group in the conceptualisation phase and created something that responded to their needs and wants.
What we learned from the conceptualisation phase:
More female role models within IT is needed in order to improve the number of females enrolling in computer science programs and staying in the IT industry.
Many of the participants at the workshop feel that male students have a head start when it comes to programming, an initiative that helps females getting started with development would level out the playing field.
A Safe Space
Most IT related meetups consists of mostly male speakers and participants. Therefore the Thursday Code Pub should only include women and thus create a platform where women are not a minority.
The initiative should grow organically by mainly using word-of-mouth and it should also be dynamic, meaning that it can adapt to new demands and needs.
The Thursday Code Pub was launched in the spring of 2013. One of the key features of our meet ups is that you get to actually do some software development. A lot of women’s initiatives consists of different kind of networking events with inspirational speaker, which is great, but we noticed that there’s no real platform for women who want to get started with programming and that’s where the Thursday Code Pub comes in. During our meetups the participants can choose between different activities such as solving different kind of programming cases, being inspired by entrepreneurial guest speakers and getting started with development by using great sites like Codeacademy, Lynda etc.
As we want to change the entire IT industry we let other companies, host occasional Thursday Code Pub meet ups. The more people we are who are working with improving gender equality in the IT industry, the bigger the impact will be.
Research shows that diversity is one of the key drivers of innovation and in order to create the startups and companies of tomorrow, the IT industry needs to change and it starts today. Care to join us?
The next Thursday Code Pub will take place on the 7th of November.