Last Thursday I went to London for the Computer Weekly women in IT awards. I was invited to speak at the event, as well as being shortlisted. I chose to talk about the undergraduate experience: the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium for women undergrads, why I set it up, and what it’s actually like for undergraduate women in UK universities right now. The culture of uni in general has got a lot more laddish in recent years, and social media doesn’t help that at all. I also drew heavily on the excellent book “Unlocking the clubhouse“, which came out over a decade ago, and which covers a lot of the problems we’re still suffering from. The talk went well, I think – lots of people came up to me afterwards to discuss it anyway. I think there’ll be some video of the talk up on CW later, and I’ll link that in when I see it.
I’m in the program!
The other talks were a mixed bag; some of them were really interesting and evidence based talks about women in business, and others were a bit “men are from mars, women are from venus”, which is (in my not so humble opinion) a massive oversimplification that doesn’t do the women or the men any favours. It’s like horoscopes for people who can only count to two.
I think it’s really important to understand that there are benefits to a diverse workforce, and that women bring benefits to the workplace, but that this doesn’t imply that all women bring empathy or some other soft skills stuff, or that all guys are systematisers or some other Simon Baron-Cohen stuff… There are as many ways to be a woman in tech as there are women in tech, the same is true for the guys, and we really need to hang on to that idea. Yes we are all special snowflakes. (And the people in Marketing might not be able to grab that concept, but hey, they’re in Marketing, you can’t expect them to be that sharp.)
Some of the talks were a bit stereotypical:-(
Then they announced the winners, counting down… and I got the number 15 slot. Check out the full list here, there are some truly impressive women on there.
Number 15, baby
After a celebratory beer and a rather nice curry, we drove back to Aber via the mountain road. It’s nice to go to London, but it’s also nice to get back…
Always nice to get back to bustling mid-Wales