In the past couple of years of networking in the tech space I came across number of organizations whose mission is encouraging the empowerment of women, especially in the technology field. While I agree with the importance of the cause (yes, we are definitely outnumbered by men), I believe a bigger impact could be achieved if we spent more energy on our integration within male-dominated groups.
Therefore I made my mission not only to become actively present in various tech networking groups, but encourage other women to join and participate in the events where we are outnumbered. Example: NY Tech meetup has more than 9,000 members, only about 15% of who are female (my rough count). I’m pretty sure there are a lot more women involved in the online space and they need to show their presence!
The next important step is not only being present at these events, but being featured: as an organizer, speaker, panelist, presenter, or even commenter. At the Web 2.0 conference in New York during September 2008 only 15% (rough count) out of 150 speakers were women. It’s hard to find the courage as a female to take the stage in a male dominated audience, but by doing so we won’t only empower ourselves but will set up a much more comfortable environment for other women. So make your mission to share your story, nominate yourself, provide expertise, ask tough questions and take the spotlight!
I hope these ideas will be thought provoking for some of you, and hopefully encourage more women to step out of our comfort zone and change the game (or at least balance it out).