TWC9: Asli Bilgin, Halloween, VS2010, and community events

Play TWC9: Asli Bilgin, Halloween, VS2010, and community events

The Discussion

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    - We discuss Asli's blog and her changing role from working in the east region to working in Dubai.
    - Asli's east region team has a dedicated portal on Channel 9 with news, events, etc

    The correct URL is

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    That's the only thing I can think of when I see Dan in a video now.

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    so do you really think you're not excluding people by calling it "girl geek dinner"?

    you so are.. and you're not doing "girls" a favor by doing that

    this i dont get, gender is but one single dimension in an infinite sea of diversity.

    why not "headhead geek dinner"? why not geek dinner for tall people, little people, fat people, skinny people, smart people, "challenged" people, deaf people, blind people, people with disabilities, people from asia, people from india, people from europe, black people,white people, people who are cristians, muslims, atheists, taoist, people with tatoos, young people, old people and on and on..


    if you where truly about diversity, call it diversity geek dinner. (btw the same goes for all of these "diversity" programs microsoft has, WIM_IN, women build, etc)



    btw who says you dont like shooter games just because you're a girl?

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    Fixed Smiley

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    LOL, I think Laura should make me screaming her name her ring tone Smiley

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    or you should set her ringtone to that without her knowing Wink

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    Al -


    You raise some really profound issues in your comment (a.ka. "rant" Smiley.  Mainly, the question of exclusivity when an organization groups together based on specific simliarities, in this case gender.  I'd like to respond to your post in first an anedoctal way, and then in a very actionable way (I hope).


    First, I want to reiterate that the Girl Geek Dinners (GGD) and the other WiT organizations that I mentioned are not exclusive to men.  If you care about the cause, you are welcome.  The cause is addressing what we can do about the serious decline in female software technologists (Ref; NYTimes article: from 28% CS degrees in 2001 to 10% last year. 


    Now for two stories...


    I attended a Women's Bond Club Diversity Round table at the New York Stock Exchange a few weeks ago. I will share more on the issues raised by the leaders of industry on my web site, but one quote really stood out.  Lawrence Leibowitze, Group Executive VP  & Head of US Markets of NYSE stated  - (I roughly paraphrase ) "gender diversity isn't about a plot for a bunch of women to huddle to the side and discuss how they can take over power.  This is about how we can get the cause gender diversity pulled into the center of core business. This is what we need to discuss. What we do here is relevant to society as a whole - driving awareness, as the workforce is only a microcosm of society.   I am embarassed at how few men showed up today. Women should be required to bring a male executive with them". At this the entire room burst into applause.


    Another story - curious about the emergence and growth of PHP as a development platform, I attended a PHP user group a few weeks ago.  Now I am not a PHP coder, nor do I plan to be, nor do I feel like I could even play one on TV Wink. However, when I attended the user group, I felt incredibly welcomed. I talked to various PHP coders and asked questions  - on the object model, how it could relate to .NET, how we could interoperate with it, and I asked what could Microsoft better with PHP support on Windows. I learned that by participating in a community that I myself was not a member, that there was a natural sharing of ideas and integration around common cause - in this case, leveraging technology to do better things in the world.  I found that some people didn't even know that PHP ran on Windows, and I myself learned more about the wealth of applications on PHP and think that perhaps we need to come up with ways we enrich our own Web App Gallery


    So I can think of 4 actionable things ( I hope that others to come up with other creative ideas!):

    1. Women's organization need to really clearly indicate that all are welcome, should that be their model

    2. Men should question, as you did, whether organizations like GGD are being exclusive. 

    3.  Attend a community event even if you do not feel like a member

    4. if you are a member of a community,  (e.g. Women in Tech), bring someone who isn't, (e.g. a man)


    I am so glad you raised this issue as oftentimes we shy away from topics that are sensitive.  Hopefully by raising it, myself, you and others can demonstrate that diversity is a cause that brings us together, not sets us apart Smiley





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    I liked the way Dan cuts straight to the important point: "Is there food?"


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    I think Asli's blog its incredible thing.  Tourism Dubai

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    Thanks for mentioning Girls in Tech, Asli - and for all of your hard work Smiley GITnyc, Girl Geek Dinners and our friends within the NYC and global community appreciate it greatly!

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    Hi Allan,


    I think the women's organizations that exist under the umbrella of 'diversity' might have developed more organically than it may appear at first glance. When you enter a room full of those with whom you share a common interest, you feel good. Same with GIT. Women in tech attend the same general tech events as our male counterparts, and at our social events, men often attend to support the specific interests of the group of women there. Part of being social for us is engaging other communities, but that doesn't mean we give up pursuing identifying with one another and our specific interests - whatever they may include, shooter games or none.


    WomenBuild and other women-focused sites as well as Asli's reply here at Ch9 make superb points. Although diversity is a key goal for many organizations, why is it a key goal? We're here to answer that. What can GIT, GGD or any community offer the greater whole? Read our blogs, chat with us, attend our events or our partner's events to find out. On a recent GIT LinkedIn discussion, I suggested that the communities we create when we are young encourage and contribute to later professional achievements in technology. The thread was begun when an IT Infrastructure Specialist asked why there were less women in IT. The fact that he asked created a forum to provide solutions to this. One of the best ways we can make sure all of our diverse needs as met, is to keep asking questions. That way people like Asli and other organizations who have researched and pursued answers to this can try to answer them in actionable ways.


    Your '<rant>' itself probably does more to pull all of the women - and men - in those diverse groups into this discussion than it would seem.



    Girls in Tech

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    Thank you for plugging the Connetected Show!

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    these projects to "bring women into" field X has been going on for a lot longer than 2001, for all we know, this labeling of women as "women" is the very reason for the decline. i for one would certinly not want the focus of my efforts to be the fact that im a guy, or that im from sri lanka rather than my work..


    i dont want people to say " aww, you're from sri linka and you're a developer, thats so GOOD for you" i want to be recoginized for the work i do, not my backround. now in your best intentions that is exactly what you're doing, you're not highliting these womens work, you're highligting that they are women primarily, Not what they're actually doing*


    you may let men in the door, but i bet you every guy who attends feels like they are helping with a cause that isnt really their own. would you feel like an event called MAN-build was meant for you? you would probobly feel like you're helping a good cause, sure, but would you feel like it was Your personal cause? and what do you think most women would respond to these questions? and perhaps more importenly, what do you think chauvinistic men, you know, the 1% of all men that you're trying to convince, feel?


    Lawrence Leibowitze applause means nothing. im not questioning your intentions. im questioning your methods. yeah sure it would be great if "male executives" attended the event but so is world peace and end of hunger. its a moot point. the question is, why arent they attending? well ive already given you the awnser to that.


    in your second story you talk about the php community and how "they" made you feel invited. thats great, however its not analogus with your events for one very simple reason. there is no "women community". you know what all women and all men have in common with each other? absolutly. nothing. [aside from some hoho's and hahas**] i dont know why but there seems to be some romantizised sisterhood mentality going on... its totaly false.


    there was a political party here in sweden called femenistiskt initiativ, roughly translated, femenist initiative. they where an utter failiure. why? because they where women? nope.. because they assumed that just because you're a women, got have similar goals and desires as other women.  you dont.


    as for your points:

    1, as long as they call themselvs "Womens organizations" they will fail in this regard.

    2, im not asking, im telling.. you are beeing exclusive. simpl letting men throuh the door does not cange that.

    3, yeah, dont hold your breath, the people you are trying to reach will need you to come to them, not the other way around.


    and still you havend awnsered my question.. if its about diverity and everyone's invited, why do you insist on prefixing event women* when its so clearly counter productive.


    *granted, not beeing from the US and part of a small company, i havent attended these events in person. however, i do watch the WM_IN show from time to time and my impression of thing like womenbuild and the descriptions of those events is what im basing this on.


    **simpsons reference

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    womens organizations work towards a subset of divesity, but they do not equal diversity by any means. It beeing organically developed in that direction is not enough. gender issues are given far far more space in these groups that other kinds of divesity such as culture or religion for example and the name embodies this biased focus.. therefore womens organizations are not truly diversity oganizations imo.


    I contend that you(+peers) are not really working towards diverity. (even though that is your intention). bringing women or men into field X doesnt equal working towards diversity. again, gender is but one single facet of diversity and not a very prominent one at that.


    singleing out any perticular property of people, gender for example, may serve to knit that group that closer together but it will also isolate that group and alienate people without that property. maybe "girls" "feel good" at these events because there are less guys there? thats fine. but it is *not* working towards divesity. more like the opposite. maybe "girls" need help working with guys, not the other way around? however, the possebility of something beeing ones own fault tends to detract from the "feeling good"


    i hope my rant will get people, including you, to question this gender aware = diversity fallucy as well as the paradoxical approach to solving the problem of differential treatment, with differential treatment.


    you may think that im against these events, or diverity in general but i most definitly am not. i was involved in the [gender]"divesity" group at my collage and ive personally been desciminated against because of my gender by a female teacher at the same collage. so you dont have to convince me.

    Nearly all of my expereince in groups like this however is that its mostly a bunch of back patting and telling each other how awsome they are, alot of asking what the problem is, very little trying to actually solve the problem and worst of all, reinforceing the very problem they where trying to solve. maybe these events are diffrent, maybe not, but from their descrptions, i have my doubts.


    as long as women and womens efforts are treated diffrently by anyone, including you, women and womens efforts will be treated diffrently. seems pretty obvious doenst it?

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    Asli - just jumping in for a sec as this really interests me Smiley Allan. How would you describe a bunch of women casually organizing an outing to discuss the latest in programming and how they would approach the design and utility of resultant products or solutions?  What if they occasionally had a 50% male attendance with the same mix of professional levels as those of the men who attend? Btw – I would definitely attend a MAN-build event Smiley


    Outside of the workplace, there is a different type of reward, including but also beyond professional recognition.  Whether or not work-based, if you take away or skew the daily work-related expectations, women are enabled to grow and learn without the same type of consensus pressure or expectation. This feeds back into industry.


    As Sri Lanka had the first post-colonial Asian women PM, no doubt you know what you are talking about.  But in finance – and in other ways in tech – in one of the fastest-paced and most interesting major cities in the world, these issues get our attention and therefore our innovation. I think now ‘women’ named groups are already accepted, and so the term is no longer a threat, but a new way to use our backgrounds creatively. Not using the term is the easiest way for it to begin to mean something nonproductive in popular culture. If there is a decline it must be addressed. At the same time, assuming that there are just less inherently technically talented women out there than 15 years prior seems a bit far-fetched, even if technical achievements should culminate in technical accolades. 

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    I completely agree. NYC women, for instance, are generally successful and thus, certainly many years ago, and likely do generally work well with men. BUT - we could probably do better. Without a community to translate to one another our experiences and build on these, we won't be able to improve how we present ourselves, improve our relationship skills, generate new ideas as fast or be as productive. That is a great product of getting to know one another professionally and personally.

    The dysfunction of any group is what I want to hear and to change. Paradoxical problem/solution sets resolve when you factor in time (or new initiatives) - so what you're saying is exactly right.

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    you illustrate my point exactly.. why is it important that they are women? who cares what gender they have, you, thats who. the question is, why.

    if they have 50% male attendace, the distiction is even more muddy. why does this matter at all? why not 50% blondes and 50% peglegs? gender is just as abitrary imo.


    you'll attend MAN-build? good for you. its beside the point though, what is you primary goal, to break down gender barriers right? to get men primarily that think guys are better to get their head straight right? well do you think men like that would ever consider visiting "women build" or "girl tech"? douuubt iiit...


    its interesting that you say that "women are enabled to grow and learn without the same type of consensus pressure or expectation" err.. i was under the impression that we wanted women to b treated no diffrently than men? why should the expectations of women be diffrently than of men?


    i'd argue that using the term "womens" organization is highly un productive, especially if what you really mean is "diversity" organization.  what is a "womens" organization anyway? nobody knows, just look at our discussion, most of it us just trying to get a grip of the term.

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    Paradoxical problem/solution may set resolve but that resolve is wasted if you dont actually solve anything.. looking at some of your blogs,i am plesently suprised, from the ones ive looked at you do seem branch out of the gender corner of diversitymore than im used to. but still, gender is still the main focus [do you disagree?]


    but still, i think you're knocking in open doors.. who is the audience of the events?  i doubt its pople that actually need convincing,.. i still think this focus on gender is a mistake, gender doesnt matter.. only skillz do. your focus should be skillz, not gender, thats all im saying

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    to give you more of a straight awnser, i would describe them as "organizers of an outing to discuss the latest in programming and how they would approach the design and utility of resultant products or solutions" 

    ritzy is the owner of pdc, yet its not called girl developers conference [but then again, gdc is busy Tongue Out ]

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    The only thing I want to say is that we are being very productive with Girl Geek Dinners in NYC. Women want to discuss topics that deal with what the everyday woman encounters in the IT world.  Let’s face it in today’s Technology field there are more men than women working. We need a community in order to empower women to want to be a part of the technology field.   Just as there are Guy Geek Dinners out there for the Men. Angel

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    I really like your idea about  community for women who works in technologie field. It could work Angel

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