Sunday 15 October 2017

WIT - Welcome in Technology

I attended or took part in a couple of WIT events at #OOW17 and here is what I learnt.


My schedule was, as always manic, so I was up first in these lightening talks by women in the dev community, which is sad because I would loved to have heard everyone's stories.

I talked about how I got into IT, which I have shared on this blog before. When I started, IT had just become mainstream, there was no education program to produce the developers of tomorrow, and there was certainly no bias.

But again, I don't think there is a bias today, we just aren't encouraging enough women to look at technology as a career. Or are we? This was just 24 hours after #JavaOne4Kids and there was certainly no lack of girls taking part in that, so I am encouraged.

It's funny that making the perfect cup of tea got me into IT and then 30 years later the great Mark Rittman was almost stumped with the technology behind it!

Then on Monday it was Inclusive Leadership

This was hosted by OWL as part of the Executive Program at #OOW17, and again I was honoured to be invited to attend. This was sponsored by TATA and Ritu Anand who gave their insight on inclusivity.

Next Christy Haubegger talked about why she created Latina Magazine, when she realised there were no magazines for Latin American women, despite them being greater in number than most groups in the US. She more recently produced 'Spanglish'.

Simon Fanshawe OBE who was a co founder of Stonewall, was just so funny to listen to. He had a really serious message about diversity and inclusion and I could have listened to him all day. It is no wonder we as a society have moved so far forward with someone like him who so eloquently and yet entertaining speaks out.

Then Debbie Sterling who created Goldieblox, engineering toys for girls. I loved her enthusiasm and hopefully the little girls of today, will grow up believing engineering is for them if they want it.

There was also Safra Katz talking about her world in Oracle and she talked about the Design Tech High School built on the Oracle Campus which I had seen a few days before. This is great work.

There was a women of the ACE Program set of talks but unfortunately I was unable to take part but know that it too showcased and encouraged women in IT.

On my way home from #OOW17 I watched Hidden Figures and I found myself in tears (not sure what my fellow passenger thought). This was such an inspirational program. The hard thing to take was the level of discrimination, but to me the most important thing was that they were, in the end they were successful because of their outstanding ability and not because of some quota.

Perhaps this will be controversial, but it won't be the first time I have said it. My interest in WIT is not about complaining but about encouraging. At #OOW17 there was lots of encouraging and I want to change the definition of #WIT

Women Welcome in Technology

Tim Hall and I have been talking about this and we are looking at how we can promote this more in our communities.

Let's make #WIT about encouraging everyone, and the inclusion of everyone.

Return to main #OOW17 Summary 


Sarah said...

I'm glad you posted this. I've been wrestling with thoughts over the past year that I'm not sure I'm on board with 100% of the WIT initiatives today. I agree, I want more inclusiveness and I really dislike the bickering and fighting that happens in WIT today. I've seen a couple things that have caused me to pull away from WIT (and a portion of it in the Oracle community): (1) Some leaders of WIT have ideas of what it should be. I have no problems with that. However, when someone disagrees with their vision of WIT, they are automatically cast out as someone to be wary of, dangerous, or aggressive (exact words I have heard...for having different opinions). Some can't accept that WIT can mean inclusiveness (like you are talking about) in different forms. It's not wrong, just different. THe 2nd thing that has caused me to pull away is the bickering you have mentioned. I am tired of it. We don't build each other up by fighting - no one wins and I choose to avoid it because it can be emotionally exhausting.

In short, I'm glad you wrote this article. I think there are groups where the dialog needs to shift to overall inclusiveness and retention over fighting over what definition and vision of WIT is "correct".

Debra Lilley said...

thank you