I had the pleasure of being invited to speak to the Oklahoma Women in Technology Meeting last night at University of Oklahoma Health Science Center Bird Library.
They Screened the Code Documentary (https://www.codedoc.co/)about the women’s representation in Tech fields and then we had a discussion afterwards.This film talks about how there is a gender gap in the tech field and how we can make a difference.
I was so impressed by the people who attended the meeting. There were both men and women and kids in attendance and everyone was passionate about how to encourage more women into the field (both kids and adults). There were all sides of IT including project managers, programmers, instructional designers and recruiters. This group has fantastic networking potential.
The group also has some great philanthropy including:
- Supporting http://thediv.org which offers camps for kids and training for teachers on coding.
- Organizing technology exploration camps for girls in middle and high school to explore tech careers.
- Having monthly speakers and networking events to aid in the professional development of their members.
- This is a new but poised to be powerful group in the OKC and Tulsa metro. You can become a member too.
- Visit their page at: http://okwomenintech.org/ and get involved.
As for the program, you might want to see the movie yourself. It is downloadable at a variety of sites https://www.codedoc.co/watch-the-film/ (but be warned it has about 7 minutes of bullying info that has the Fbomb and the C word in the non educational edition)
Also I encouraged the participants to pick a way (beyond all that their organization is doing to make a difference). here are my suggestions.
- Volunteer in a classroom to support a teacher teaching code and tell the students about your job and life.
- Volunteer at a Botball robotics competition http://www.botball.org/
- Buy some books about coding and donate them to schools so kids can read and relate to them. (you can see my growing list of http://bit.ly/techstorybooks )
- Engage a child in you life in learning about coding. You can use a variety of things like http://code.org and Apple’s Swift and Swift Playground https://www.apple.com/education/everyone-can-code/
- Be a beacon for coding.. Wear it proud, let people know that you are a woman in IT so that girls can see that someone like them could be in IT.
One of the questions I got, what is the right thing to use to learn about coding – there are so many, pick one and go with it.. and you could be making a difference in someone’s life and career trajectory.
I was so pleased to be part of this discussion, I joined the organization and am excited about being part of this vibrant community in Oklahoma.
Special Shoutout to @KimT (Kim Thomas) at OUIT who invited me as a program chair. She is a force for change both within OU and within the IT Field.