Seeing as one of our main focuses is events and training geared towards women in IT, I read the recent blog entry “Do Women Want Female-Only Tech Events?” with interest. It’s understandable that female technologists can feel slightly patronised when invited to a women only event; they often pose questions like ‘why should we be treated any different?’ And if this post is anything to go by, ‘why should we pay for the privilege of going to an event which happens to be attended by women?’ But I agree that these are valid questions!
I can only comment from my own experience, which is that anything for ‘women only’ is not a particularly great idea. Our events are instead tailored to women but very much open to men too – in fact, we’d love for more men to attend! The fact of the matter is that there are issues that effect women in the workplace more than men and so addressing these problems for a female audience is often necessary; for example, events that we’ve held in the past include building a confident brand, achieving as a woman in technology and political savvy. However this doesn’t mean that no men are welcome, that the event is going to be based on gender stereotypes or that we will charge a small fortune for the privilege of an all women meeting.
The purpose of our female focussed events is to empower women with knowledge that can help them in their careers whilst helping them to meet other technical women. This allows attendees to build up a bank of useful contacts, chat to people in similar circumstances as themselves, get advice and generally feel part of a bigger community in what is a very male dominated industry. And that’s why I think they’re a great idea! Many women that have come to our events in the past have commented on how much they enjoy going to a female event, but often women will need to go to one to get a taste of what it’s like before they make their mind up. They may not be for everyone and I’d certainly recommend going to mixed events too – but if they’re done properly, events for women in IT are a must.