Monday, October 14, 2013

GHC13: A Man's Perspective - An Interesting View

I've seen men at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing before, but I've never seen anything written by them after attendance.  This week I came across two outstanding blogs written by men about being a man at a female dominated event.

From Jamie Talbot, Is This What It's Like For Women At Every Conference?

From Owyn Richen, Grace Hopper 2013 - A Guy's Perspective:
"I was a little intimidated thinking about being among the minority at the conference, gender-wise, and it made me better understand how a woman might feel in our male-dominated industry. Once I got there, all I really felt was excitement about having the opportunity to learn from leaders in both the academic and industry sectors, who happen to be women."
Update: a third blog was sent my way by Matt Wallaert, Observations from the Land of Amazons:
"And honestly, having dramatically more women than men around actually made me relax too. There was no implicit competition, no being bothered by obnoxious crowds of guys crowded around the sexually attractive women and ignoring the less attractive ones."

These two [update: three] blogs from men that attended this year's GHC really put in perspective what it's like for nearly every woman at a male dominated conference, minus the fear of assault or having their opinions dismissed due to their gender.

These are really thought provoking and worth reading. Also, from these blogs, you get a real sense that this isn't just a "feel good networking event for women" (as I've heard it called by many who have a drastically incorrect impression of the event), but rather an outstanding technical conference that also helps you to grow your soft skills, inspires and raises your confidence as a person in tech.

GHC is one of the most inclusive conferences I've ever been to. You do not have to be a woman to attend, you don't even have to have a strong gender identity at all. The conference also provides FREE child care which really makes it possible for parent's to travel to such an event and not have to struggle to find child care in a strange city.

I missed this year's GHC (first time since 2007), because I was presenting at another conference the week before (ICMC) - but following the twitter feeds and blogs really helped me feel like I was attending virtually. Thank you, Online Communities Committee, for capturing your memories for me.

With Ada Lovelace Day this week, I have to say I continue to be inspired by the work that Anita Borg did to plant the seed to create this amazing community of women that is Systers, Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology LinkedIn group (nearly 10K strong), Grace Hopper Celebration, Women of Vision Awards... her influence goes on and on and she inspires me nearly every day.

Any other blogs that I've missed? What are you thoughts?

This post syndicated from: Thoughts on security, beer, theater and biking!