What It’s Like to Be a Woman at a Tech Conference
Chloe Condon
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Welcome to the fun of being a woman in tech! Yes, a great sense of humor is needed for all the silly stereotypes. I go to hackathons where guys assume I do PR or am a designer because of how I dress (very feminine and my glasses are neon pink). Yet … CS was compulsory in school from age 11 and I got A’s. Plus I have a maths degree.

June 20, I organized a Practical AI workshop for women in SF after being in an AI workshop where male:female was 25:1 and where the male trainer said, “AI is like babies. They don’t need any supervision and can just absorb a lot of data and learn by themselves.” Well, of course on the Slack channel, I posted a photo I’d taken at ComicCon of a mother supervising and explaining to her baby boy that R2D2 was in front of him and it was okay to walk closer to the robot! So … just because male engineers and PhDs may have AMNESIA about how much supervision and intelligence they got from their mothers to enable them to learn and understand things, that doesn’t make their silly and unscientific comments true.

Anyway, our workshop switched up the ratios to 1:16 and the turn-up rate was 50%, compared with the typical 30% turn-up rate of most tech events — including mostly male ones (Solomon Hykes — Yup, 95% women, LOL).

We also made a video of Rachel Thomas, a maths PhD (she’s brilliant: https://medium.com/tech-diversity-files/if-you-think-women-in-tech-is-just-a-pipeline-problem-you-haven-t-been-paying-attention-cb7a2073b996) leading 60+ women to hands-on code and to explore word embeddings and their inherent biases.

Please watch from 1:12:40 onwards.

There are lots of fantastic women in tech in Bay Area, :*).

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