A few weeks ago, I participated in a panel at Semantic Web Austin that discussed open data initiatives and how the City of Austin might benefit from incorporating such a philosophy around its data. (If you want to know more about this idea, check out Juan Sequeda’s recent post on this blog.) It was an excellent discussion and I was fortunate to connect with some of the Austin tech scene’s most innovative minds.
One of the more interesting facets of the evening for me, however, was the make-up of the room. The new Texas Coworking space was packed – and not a fellow female in the bunch. The immediate effect was so striking that my first words upon arrival were a Tourettes-like exclamation of, “Holy crap, I’m the only woman here.”
I felt a bit conspicuous but it certainly wasn’t new. I suspect most women in tech have experienced this at one time or another. It’s a male-dominated field and you grow accustomed to having the restroom to yourself at conferences. It did, however, emphasize the need for an idea Stacey Higginbotham and I had thrown around – a gathering of tech women in Austin.
Though I’ve heard rumors of national organizations with chapters here, I haven’t seen any accompanying events. And with all the sharp women I keep running into locally, it seemed a no-brainer.
So Stacey and I are hosting a little get-together this Thursday at Union Park, to gather women in the Austin tech scene and brainstorm on what type of group we could all create. It’s very much a crowdsourced approach, so bring your brains and your motivation. Please RSVP at the Tweetvite. Look forward to meeting everyone!