Who is a Geek? No explanations needed there…but who is a Girl Geek? An extinct or unborn species, you think? Or a mythical creature that is impossible to find? Or maybe you could spot an odd girl geek here or there? That is not what Sarah Blow thinks, and endeavors to make the world think through her Girl Geek Dinners in over 19 destinations.
A software programmer in a medical company in U.K., Sarah once had the occasion to attend something they called a Geek Dinner. She found that not only was she a minority gender in the crowd but that the majority gender in her vicinity simply assumed that their topics passed above her head. She finally had to lay it on a plate to them when she was kept out of a conversation which was on her particular field. The strong sex apologized duly but it left Sarah to follow up on the incident with an idea of what came to be known as the Girl Geek Dinners.
The number of women in science, technology and IT is abysmally low although the girls show brilliant records academically. Sarah attributed this to the lack of role models and in a couple of months organized the first Girl Geek Dinner in London, simple in structure, with speakers and no hurdles. It was an all girl affair but men could attend on invitation by a girl geek. The general idea was to make women more confident about attending such technology events and the fact that men were allowed had something to do with making them have a taste of what a minority gender feels in a crowd.
“If you have the passion for technology and the depth of knowledge in a technical subject area then to me you are a geek… and if you are female and have these traits then you are a girl geek!” says Sarah to Techgoss.
Sarah says that “Girl Geek Dinners is actually a bit of a play on words… Girl Geek is a bit of an oxymoron as it is quite rare in the UK at least to find Girl Geeks in companies as a large group… they are usually isolated in a team of men. And Girl Geek Dinners… well that is even more rare based on the old fashioned stereotype that geeks are people with little to no social skills who don’t know how to wash and are only interested in their computer”.
The popularity of girl geek dinners now have led to girl geek coffee mornings as well. The Guardian.uk has written up on the girl geek dinners under the title ‘Geek Goddesses’, but Sarah admits in her blog she wasn’t very thrilled about the tone of the article.
So if you are actively seeking a girl geek, you have to know where to look! Look for her in the next cubicle, in the lab or just on the web, that’s where they breed in huge clusters. To deserve her you need to be a true-blue geek and respect her intellect. So the next time you send out the invites, make that Geek Dinner a great one by emulating Sarah’s example…make it a Girl Geek Dinner where the male geeks where also invited. UK Girl Geek functions have a number of heavy weight sponsors like HP and Microsoft.
P.S. Girl Geek events haven’t caught on in India as yet. Any entrepreneurs out there? More details here.