Friday, June 11th, 2010
Girl Geek Dinners started in 2005 in England when its founder Sarah Blow had enough of attending technical events where she was among one of the only female attendees and frustrated by stereotypes that assumed she was only knowledgable about marketing and branding. She knew there were other women out there working and geeking out over technology, so she brought them together and started Girl Geek Dinners as a way of creating a female-centric community to connect tech women over good food and incredibly nerdy conversations of all kinds and colours.
Girl Geek Dinners have spread around the world in the last few years, and now — thanks to Brittney and Shauna — they’ve officially come to Edmonton.
There were a limited run of tickets to the first dinner; I was fortunate enough to snap one up the day they were announced, and have been looking forward to the event since then. The fist series of 20 tickets sold out so fast (four hours!) that an additional 10 were added, and those sold out within only a couple of days. It was fantastic to see so much immediate interest in the event right off the get-go! A couple of geek men were also in attendance, but the majority of us were women in technology and science. (Men must be invited by an attending woman, and women may invite only one man in order to keep the ratio to at least 50/50: this is, after all, a female meetup above and beyond anything else.)
First order of the night was a round of introductions that included each person providing their background, occupation and “geek credentials”, and it was a great ice breaker to come out of the geek closet and discover so many women with shared and similar interests from gadgets and gaming to role playing and crafting.
Shauna and Brittney gave a brief talk about their vision for Girl Geek Dinners in Edmonton that will include speakers, community blogging and event nights. One of the things they’re keen to do that struck me as particularly awesome is organize a dinner to connect women in tech with high school girls in Edmonton to help spread the word and encourage more females to pursue technology, math and science programs and careers. The more of us there are, the better off all of us are: there are still a lot of stereotypes and artificial, cultural barriers that discourage girls and young women from entering the industry, and I can’t think of a better way to encourage them than to get them hanging out with a group of successful tech women in their community. I definitely hope to be able to attend that dinner!
After there were door prizes (I won a free ticket to the next Girl Geek Dinner in July at Lux Steakhouse! Awesome!) and much mingling. It was a fantastic night, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the range of people who were there, particularly when it came to spanning age demographics. As a twenty-something geek, it was very cool to meet and chat with other geek generations!
Big thanks to Ceili’s Irish Pub and Restaurant who hosted and sponsored the event, providing one free drink per head and free appetizer plates. Ceili’s has a reputation in Edmonton for being good to the Twitter community, and the service was excellent!
Keep up with the latest from YEGGirlGeek Dinners by following their Twitter feed or subscribing to their official blog. Hope to see you out at the next dinner in July!