A few months ago, a couple of tweeps of mine and I decided to have a girls’ night out in New York City. Just 3 girls from New Jersey and France enjoying a night out together and laughing most of the way. We started using the hashtag #geekgirlsnightout while making plans and it had a nice ring to it.
I randomly decided to search for this domain name and was surprised to find it was available. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with it, but I had to have it.
See, I spent much of my life feeling on the fringes with women, even those I was close to. I just didn’t have much in common with most of the girls and women I’d meet in traditional social settings. While it’s good to have friends across the gender spectrum, there are some issues that desperately need discussion that are unique to being female. The handful of like-minded (using the term very loosely) women I had met proved how precious those bonds can be.
Since joining Twitter and becoming involved in science and tech communities, I’ve found that we’re not that rare, we’re just hard to find through old-school methods. The leaps in social technology have changed the landscape and I’ve met hundreds of women who have had similar experiences to mine. Even better, when I have gotten to meet lots of these women in person, we have always had an incredibly fun time together!
Recently, I wrote a post about unemployment at my personal blog and it got an overwhelming response. The most striking pattern I saw was the amount of helpful advice, leads, freelance job offers, and general support that came from the female tech community. I used to work in an industry that was male-dominant and the women were, well, more competitive than supportive towards other women (not all, but in general). The difference between these experiences highlighted how special this newer-to-me community is.
At the same time, I was pointed to the #RipplesofDoubt hashtag and related blog posts. The movement is about speaking up about sexual harassment in the academic sciences, both of students and those who have or want a career in them. The stories are heartbreaking, but the strength of these women and the support that has been shared is heart-warming and hope-giving.
While there are professional women’s groups and communities for specific interests, I haven’t encountered any that encompass the social experience of being a female geek. That’s the goal here. I may be starting this up, but I hope it will organically grow into something that will fit our needs, from support in tough times to creating great times together.