It’s a great first month for Women Who Code Manila. This month, we were able to launch our very first event at BitSpace. Thank you BitSpace https://www.brainsparks.ph/bitspace for the support.
“Because women are not visible during some technical conferences that I’ve attended. I want more women to have a place where they can express themselves without discrimination.” - Anj
“I want to bring what I have experienced abroad—the same culture, events, and excitement towards learning and building new things— to us here in the Philippines and make it accessible to everyone whatever their status, race, or gender. I want that sharing & helping community in my country just like that of Women Who Code.“ - Michie
I’m very thankful that I was paired with Anj by the global team so that we can make Women Who Code Manila possible. (Thank you Joey & Jodi.)
PRE-LAUNCH OF MANILA
Before our first meetup, I was able to join a hackathon last December 2016. The ratio of female to male is still the same from the last time I have joined a developer event in the Philippines. It’s not actually the same, it has increased. I was able to meet around 10 women vs 100++ men developers during that event, and was able to invite some of them to join Women Who Code Manila. At another meetup, I saw one woman out of 20+ guys in their meetup.
But for some events, you can see an increase in women in dev meetups about 15 women to 60+ men in the crowd. Most of the lady attendees are students, and there are around 3-4 women professionals.
There are also women dev groups such as PyLadies Manila & Django Girls (last main activity/workshop held March 2016 during Women TechMakers Manila and they promote the Python Community all year round in the Philippines 👍 ) and Rails Girl Manila (last solo event held April 2015, promotes the Ruby User Group event which is being held every month 👍 ). And once a year, Women Techmakers Manila http://womentechmakers.gdgph.org event is being hosted by Google Philippines. ❤❤❤
These are just some insights to take note before we launch.
During our first meetup, our goal is to understand the concerns of female engineers in the local setting and at the same time, welcome new ladies who are interested to be part of this field.
On our breakout session, we decided to divide the group into two, one for beginners and one for professionals in the Tech Industry.
Anj led the beginners group and asked what were their concerns, expectations and more. And I handled the professionals and try to understand what is the scenario in their workplace and their environment being women engineers.
Here’s what we have learned …
They are very interested to learn how to code but they don’t know where to start, what path to take and where to ask for help.
One of attendees, Joy, has experienced the same thing regarding scarcity of women in tech-related events. She was able to attend a hackathon and she can’t find any female developer in the event she participated except her. (Note: Organizers are not counted in this statement.) If she finds women in a dev event, they’re just the same faces attending and in total still has a low count compared with male attendees. She wants to change that scenario and encourage more women to participate.
We know and believe that there are lot of good women developers out there. It is possible that they are not informed about the events happening that is why they are not attending events. We are not sure about this, but we'll try to find out as we have more WWCode Events and meet new members.
Regarding Hiring & At the Workplace
For our attendees, it wasn’t hard for them to land a role of a developer in their company. They felt that there were no bias when it comes to hiring developers based on gender in the Philippines. This is very possible especially for a country like ours where women are more empowered compared with other countries.
During our discussion, the idea why there is a limited number of Women in Engineering can be due to our culture.
Having the idea that Engineering is for men can be stopping women from taking STEM courses in college. It can also be cause by our primary & secondary education sometimes separating gender in co-curricular activities. For example, girls should take Home Economics (cooking, sewing and etc), while boys should take extracurricular such as electronics, robotics, or computer. Parents probably would encourage women to get courses that are meant for women.
These might be some reasons why less women are taking STEM courses.
As much as we can, we will try to address what we have learned during our first event. We will try our best to explore more about the conditions why we have few women in the Tech Industry in the Philippines. Maybe there are a lot of us but are just not visible, or maybe it's the culture, so we'll try to change that.
Btw, we want to say thank you Gwen of Rappler for covering us, you can read more about our first launch at this link: http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/159119-women-who-code-manila-launch. We really appreciate it.
OUTCOME OF THE EVENT
Because of this event, we were able to get 4 awesome ladies who are willing to share their time and knowledge to help more women excel in their tech careers.
And we want you to meet them all...
Meet Nicole Tibay
Nicole got enchanted under the spell of PEP 20 -- The Zen of Python and decided to dump her 2-year SAP ABAP experience to venture on as a Python Dev in a financial start up company. This PyPrincess is haunted by midnight ideas of healthy foods and apps and practices the magic of pointillism with pen and paper as her weapon.
She will be leading our Python Dev Study Group. #ApplaudHer
Meet Christine Balanaa
Christine works as a Java Developer. She likes programming because of the many opportunities it offer to learn something new.
She will be leading our Android (Java) Study Group. #ApplaudHer
Meet Kristine Joy Paas
Joy is a self-taught programmer. She started programming as a hobby but eventually fell in love with it since it enables her to building things. Joy wants to help other people discover the beauty of code.
She will lead our Ruby on Rails Study Group. #ApplaudHer
Meet Jeanette Balansag
Jeanette has been working in IT industry for more than 4 years, mostly as a software QA slash programmer. Her interests outside IT include playing video games, doodling and calligraphy. After the grand launch of WWCode MNL, she noticed that there are non-IT professionals who attended. They inspired her to volunteer because she wants to help and encourage them to pursue their chosen career in IT. She also want to promote awareness amongst women that we can also excel in the IT world.
She will lead our Game Dev Study Group. #ApplaudHer
There are a lot of things that we need to do to make sure that we can inspire more women to excel in their tech careers. We hope that if there are more visible women leaders (Engineers, Developers, Inventors and more), we can encourage more girls to take STEM courses and take away the concept that Engineering, Computer Science, etc are for Men. We want them to choose a path because this is their passion and you don’t choose a course because of your gender. Hope we can accomplish that.
This February you can catch these events:
All of them are free except for the Hidden Figure Movie Night (KKB muna, “Kanyang kanyang bayad” muna. It means pay on your own.) LOL
Join our meetup group at https://meetup.com/Women-Who-Code-Manila if you are interested to join our events. We now have 215 members. Yey!
These future events are not possible without the people and companies who are promoting diversity in their workplace. We are grateful for companies such as Atlassian and Google.
We’ll be collaborating with Google for the Women TechMaker event this March 2017. So ladies, please wait for the announcement and hope you can be there.
EXPECTATIONS FOR WWCODE MANILA
More events to encourage more women to be part of the Tech Industry.
More women to become leaders in Tech Industry and the community.
More lives we can improve with the use of technology (announcement about this on Feb 11, 2017)
Year-ender All Women Hackathon - Ladies, we would love to meet you all kahit nasa Visayas or Mindanao ka pa (even if you are in Visayas or Mindanao Region), join us.
INTERESTED TO HELP?
If you want to volunteer by sharing your knowledge to other women, tell us why you want to be part of the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your company has the same passion as we have, which is to create change and promote more women in Tech industry, you can help us by sponsoring our events, please send us an email here email@example.com and tell why and how you want to help.
If you are the press and would like to inform others about Women Who Code Manila, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much to everyone who has attended and supported our events.
Thank you Tech Leads for wanting to create change and volunteering your service to help more women succeed in their tech careers.
Thank you Ren (Anj’s Husband) for being so supportive and taking our pictures during the event. #OurHiddenFigure kasi wala sa picture (because he is not in the pictures) LOL
Thank you Benny, Joseph of Atlassian & Chelle of Google for accommodating us.
We really appreciate you all.