Last Friday it was finally time to go see the movie of the year, or should I say century, with a bunch of Girl Coders: Hidden Figures. First, if you didn’t already: GO TO THIS MOVIE! It’s an absolute must-see!
Hidden Figures is about three African-American female mathematicians who’ve sent the first American into space with their calculations. Say what?! Yeah, the movie is called Hidden Figures for a reason. This truly awesome true (!) story has remained hidden in history until now. The whole movie is all about the struggles black women faced in the world of coding. I type faced, but apart from the open and proud racism maybe, I’m sad to say the inequality for women developers and especially black women developers is still very real in this day and age. Because we believe awareness and role models are really important to close the gender gap in tech, I feel hiding this story is part of the reason girls don’t always realize coding is a real option for them too. And what role models Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan are!
Listening to what struggles women developers face was the reason for Ahmed of NGTI to visit our last meetup at Booking.com and leaving inspired he wanted to help raise awareness by hosting the next Girl Code meetup. So he hooked us up with some great food at the office and free tickets for the movie. Next, Ahmed’s words on the collab and the movie:
Going into my first Girl Code meetup, I knew there’s a staggering gender gap in the industry. What I was struggling with was, what can I do about it. There’s often an underestimated step in the process of creating a change, that’s listening. I knew if I wanted to help, I’d have to listen first. So, there I was listening to brave women speaking up for themselves, sharing their experience, remembering what they had to overcome, and foreseeing what’s yet to challenge their progress, being vulnerable yet strong and admitting their fears in an act of courage. I’m sure that whatever I grasped from listening doesn’t amount to even a fraction of what they experience, but it was enough to make me want to spread the word further. That’s why we wanted to host an event with Girl Code, and that’s why when they suggested watching Hidden Figures, we couldn’t miss it! It’s essential to progress that we occasionally look back, assess our failures as human beings and move on with the intention of not repeating the same mistakes. Hidden figures gives us this opportunity to look back not far in history, to see bright women fighting for their basic rights and passionately contribute to the progress of humanity, despite all the hurdles in their way, only for their contribution to stay hidden for years. There are so many lessons to be learned, but for me the most important one is, without the courage of people speaking up and raising awareness change simply can’t happen.
Finally, this is not only about injustice. This is also about fitness. As it’s the case for the body needing diverse diet to stay healthy, the same applies to industries. Having people from a limited pool doesn’t produce good ideas. If the tech industry is keen on being healthy, it’s time for a diversity diet. Hire for diversity and inclusion, not just to be fair but to be fit.
Note: NGTI is hiring, please check our job openings.
And now it’s time to buy me some Katherine, Mary and Dorothy posters for inspiration! Thanks to all Girl Coders who joined us for the movie. You made our night!
Curious about our next meetup? Join us at meetup.com/GirlCode to stay in the loop!
‘Cause being a coder brings challenges and being a Girl Coder can bring even more, this night at Booking was all about sharing experiences. First with talks by Tara Nielsen, Liana Popescu, Yosra Alaa and Abril Alvarez. And after, during the Q&A and the drinks, we got to hear the stories of our community too. It was an awesome and inspiring night and you came with many! Thank you for that!
You probably wouldn’t say, ’cause our speakers were very good, but for all four it was their first talk ever! They maybe were a little hesitant before, but they rocked and this is what we think Girl Code is all about! We want to offer the stage to women who have interesting and inspiring stories, even when they don’t have much experience speaking on stage yet. Ours is the perfect stage to start out when conquering the world. And seeing all four of them kick so much ass up there, made it even better! Not that we doubted that before. Thanks girls, for choosing our stage for your first talks. We feel very honoured!
Tara talked among other things about imposter syndrome, Liana about the importance of mentorship, Yosra about conquering multiple male-dominated fields throughout her life and Abril about the different challenges in different countries. You can take another look at all the slides below.