Ladies only coding night at B.: Girl Code

This Wednesday is Ladies Night at B. Or, to be more specific: it’s a coding night – for ladies. Ineke Scheffers, student of the New York Coding and Design Academy (NYCDA) that houses in B.Amsterdam, organizes this special event, where women (and men, if they want to) will get a two hour course in designing a duck shooting game. With this event – Girl Code – Ineke wants to invite women to the world of programming. “A world that is dominated by men.”

Ineke is determined to end this domination, seeing as it is the reason she learned about coding far too late in life. “When I was little, all I wanted was to study”, she explains. “At the age of five I asked my grandfather: what is the highest education I can get? I knew I wanted to get a masters degree.” And seeing as coding was more or less a practical training, she never really considered it as a line of work. “All I wanted was to go to university.”

But a bigger problem, Ineke learned recently, is the social construct that surrounds the world of coding. “Purposefully or not, the prevailing idea is that coding is a job for men.” She noticed most coding companies didn’t have any female employees -“In the company I worked for there were three, in a total of fifty” – and realized she had to be the one to make a change.

She started in the beginning of 2015, by organizing a women’s only coding event at the company she was working for. The event was met with enthusiasm, but there were critical comments as well. “A lot of people didn’t see the purpose. They asked me: ‘why call it Girl Code? Can’t you just organise a coding night for everyone?’ But, I told them, these already exist, and 90 per cent of the attendees are male. If you want women to attend an event, you have to specify this.”

Ineke recalls a story of a friend, which illustrates the problem of current coding events. “He went to a coding night with two of his female friends, and noticed how they were treated. It was apparently so unusual for these men to encounter a girl with the same interests, they all wanted to get some. These girls just wanted to learn something that night, and share ideas, but instead, they were literally hunted by men.” Hence, the need for a ladies only coding night. “But, and I want to be really clear about this, men, are of course very welcome too.”

Since that first night, a new Girl Code event is happening every two months. With a very international crowd. “The Netherlands is very low on the list of the number of working female coders. Only 10 per cent, showed a scientific research in 2014.” Reason enough for Ineke to keep going, by organizing a new Girl Code in at B. Amsterdam. “NYCDA is providing the location and knowledge, we are providing a network, by building a community.” The Girl Code community consists of over 400 members, that share their learnings with women everywhere. “So they can learn how to code.”

Because – fun fact -, coding used to be a women’s task. In the 1960’s 65 per cent of the coders were female. If they were able to organise a dinner, was the thought, they were precise enough to write code. “A stupid idea, off course. But no less stupid then thinking a woman’s brains is just not fit to code. A thought I want to eliminate.”

Girl Code
19:00 – 20:30h
second floor // the Henry // 2.m.20-1

Wanna join (the movement)?
Register through this link and learn how to build a very cool duck shooting game!
meetup.com/nl-NL/girlcode/events/23560..