Women in Code

This is the fourth in a series of nine posts on the All Things Open 2015 conference I attended in Raleigh in mid-October. For more information on the conference, along with videos and slides from the presenters, check out the conference website.

One of the unofficial themes of the conference this year was how to ensure that women, non-cis-gendered people, and people of color feel comfortable in the open source community or the code community at large. There was a fantastic documentary film shown the first day called Code: Debugging the Gender Gap followed by a panel discussion.

The film shows women of all ages, from small children to women who were pioneers in the industry. It talked a little bit about how to improve all parts of the pipeline, from encouraging girls to stay in STEM education paths to making the work environment more welcoming to non-male employees.

As a woman in tech myself, albeit on a more female-friendly side (marketing, advertising, and journalism all tend to skew female), I have felt like an outsider at some conferences and jobs, and am likely a product of the world that says that girls shouldn’t love math and science (I still love you Science!!).

I also feel like my public school system did not encourage computer science as a career path, possibly because when I graduated High School, it was just beginning to be a growth area for jobs.

I am encouraged, though, by the prevalence of this conversation among technology industry groups and conferences. I felt totally welcomed at the All Things Open conference, and felt like the speakers and keynotes represented a wealth of diversity in the industry. Hopefully that will continue to grown in the future.