I was interested to read about the London Girl Geek Dinners in the Guardian today. Set up by Sarah Blow after she attended a technology gathering and found she was only one of 20 women in an audience of 150, its aim is to create oportunites for women in IT to meet each other and 'to get that confidence that comes from knowing other women in the industry'. They host regular dinners with speakers and men are allowed to attend if they are invited by a woman. According to Sarah, the idea to allow men along was partly to be inclusive, but also so that they would realise what it was like to be in a minority. Some interesting parallels (and differences) with Sophia. Their website is londongirlgeekdinners.co.uk.
I loved her account of being excluded from a conversation because guys assumed that she couldn't possibly know what they were talking about and that she must be in marketing. She explains how she 'showed them the binary watch she was wearing: "I lit it up, and they didn't say a word; absolute silence. Then they went completely white and apologised profusely for what they'd done. I said, 'don't make assumptions about people, because you never know who they are, or what they know - so whether I look like a techie or not shouldn't matter.' At that point they changed their attitude to all the females in the room." ' I wonder what it would take for the same to happen where it needs to in our sphere?