Whew! So it’s been a busy week. I’ve been at The View’s Admin2010/Developer2010 conference.
Attending sessions, presenting two sessions, participating in a podcast, and panelist on the Nerd Girl BOF.
I presented “Fantastic Feats with @Formula”, which I think went very well. A good group of attendees, especially for the first slot of the morning. I had fun, and I hope everybody learned something. Friday I presented “The Top Things All Notes Developers Need to Know” which also went really well. Lots of great questions when it was over.
The Nerd Girl podcast was a lot of fun. We tried to get a lot of information into a short amount of time, but I think we succeeded. The plan is to do more of these, so I hope you’ll tune in!
The Nerd Girl BOF (Birds of a Feather) was great as usual. For those of you who have never attended one of the Nerd Girl BOFs or panels, I assure you they are not “man bashing” events. The panels and BOFs are a way for women AND men to discuss issues for women in technology. I live tweeted some of the discussion. One question that arose was whether or not women are less confident about their IT skills than men.
There was a book recommendation, Talking 9 to 5, Women and Men at Work (affiliate link below). Do we undermine ourselves with our language, “I think”, “This might”, etc.
One woman felt some men in her workplace doubted her expertise, and frequently turned to men in her department to validate her responses. I responded that we should call people on bad behavior. If someone is acting negatively due to gender (or really anything), call them out. Maybe you are wrong and it isn’t about gender, but at least if you discuss it, it is out in the open.
Ethnicity in addition to gender was brought up. The women present didn’t seem to feel that ethinicity was as big of an issue in Tech than gender. Generational differences were tweeted, perhaps younger people see less differences?
Someone asked what skills women bring to IT. The Twitter responses seemed to say that you can’t call out the negatives and still ask about the positives. I don’t think it was meant to be, “Hey, you can’t point out my negative differences and then praise me for my positive ones”. The first point was to call out bad behavior. The second point was to build confidence in our skills. Yes, we *may* be different than men, but we still bring skills to the table. It was difficult to get all of the tone and ideas into 140-character bits.
Mostly, I personally find the value of the Nerd Girls groups (see below) to be in the community that is created. We can belong to many communities, and each one provides us with some value, or we wouldn’t belong. I love Twitter because it connects me to lots of Lotus geeks. I love runningahead because it connects me to lots of runners. In either community, I can go to the group, and say “hey, aynone ever seen this?” and get an answer. I know I’m not the only one who experiences what I experience. It is the same thing with the Nerd Girls. Knowing you aren’t alone in your situation, and getting advice or at least commiseration.
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