Women take on 'sexist tech industry'

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 01, 2013 11:38 hrs

Wellington: Nerd Girls - a networking group for women who work with IBM's Lotus software - is encouraging change in the way women are perceived across the industry.

According to the group, women in IT face challenges that are 'in your face', alternatively subtle, or barely noticed by anyone except those on the receiving end, reports Stuff.co.nz.

Francie Tanner, a technical director for software company Panagenda, said she'd been mistakenly identified as a "booth babe" when attending conferences.

Gabriella Davis, who runs a London-based IT consultancy with her husband, says that she's been mistaken for a note-taker rather than a potential project's lead contact at client meetings. The "assistant", it turns out, is often her husband.

According to Davis, being female does require having a level of confidence that a lot of men don't need to have.

However, it should be noted that IBM announced Nerd Girl member Kathy Brown, Tanner and Davis as "champions" at this year's Connect conference in Orlando, Florida. Their industry authority is as real as some of the misperceptions about them.

The Nerd Girl network formed in 2008 at an IBM Lotusphere event when conference organisers - women - noticed the gender split and encouraged the group's development by inviting the women to host sessions and panels.

The group now exists through LinkedIn and Twitter and hosts Skype chats. It has seen the end of booth babes at conferences and witnessed Nerd Girl merchandise prove popular among male and female attendees.

Other groups work tirelessly to motivate women to take up and stay with their IT career choice, including Girl Geek Coffee started in Australia. It runs meetings in Canberra and other cities. (ANI)

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