Girl Geeks dine in Dublin


20 Feb 2008

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Technologically minded women from around the country will be gathering in Dublin next week to eat, drink and network for the first ever Irish Girl Geek Dinner which will be held on 27 February in association with the Irish Web Technology Conference (IWTC).

Girl Geek Dinners originated in the UK a few years back when Sarah Blow, a London-based software developer, noticed how few women she met at technology networking events.

The idea behind Girl Geek Dinners is to help women in technology meet other like-minded individuals who are passionate about technology and want to make the tech field a better place not just for women but everyone says Girl Geek Ireland organiser Martha Rotter.

Rotter works for the Developer and Platform Group at Microsoft Ireland and decided to set up an Irish faction of Girl Geek Dinners after moving to Ireland last year.

“I spent the last few months talking to women in the tech community about what they would want out of such an event. We came up with the idea of rotating the dinners around Ireland.”

For the next year, the dinners will rotate between Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Galway and Limerick, depending on feedback from Girl Geek members and are planned for every other month.

“I was looking for organisations or networks of people who were passionate about technology like me. Having lived in Seattle for the past six years, I was accustomed to having lots of geeks around all the time!

“It was such great energy and enthusiasm, and I really missed that. I found Girl Geek Dinners on upcoming.org and ended up finding Sarah that way. So we started a conversation about kicking them off in Ireland, and here we are!”

Rotter explains that anyone can attend, including men, as long as they were invited by a woman who was already planning on attending: “The idea is to make sure people attend for the right reasons, so hence the invite-only for men.”

She said that although she has only been in Ireland a short while the male/female ratio in her work environment is encouraging with a 50/50 even mix in her team.

“That is the first time that has ever happened to me in this industry! Other organisations I’ve visited and talked to here have an incredibly small percentage, though, so it just depends.

“The women that I have met so far have been extremely sharp, talented and passionate, so I’m quite excited about meeting more of them.”

Launching in conjunction with the IWTC, the first dinner is being held in Odessa on 14 Dame Court on Wednesday, 27 February with a Q&A and some discussions about the how the dinners work with a view to getting some speakers and presentations together for the next one.

By Marie Boran