Singapore Geek Girls will not leave it to Guys-only

On January 7 I had a wonderful opportunity to take part in the first Singapore Geek Girls meetup organized by Joyce Huang and Mingfei Yan. Being a girl myself I am very interested in what does it mean to be a geek girl in Singapore and I was extremely lucky to arrive in Singapore right on time for it.

I believe it was 2 months ago that the idea of an event was born and it apparently addresses a hot spot here in Singapore, as more than 30 people gathered in the cozy Group Therapy Coffee on Friday afternoon. It wasn’t girls-only event and we had 6 guys who seemed to feel rather comfortable amongst dozens of cheerful and excited girls.

As Joyce in her opening speech explained- the main reason to initiate this coming together was her personal experience of being 1 of the 5 girls vs 30 guys at her her work. “Enough with the dirty jokes!” (‘we know what you mean’ laughter). With some support from guys also girls, can change the world via technology and design. Joyce drafted a perspective where SG Geek Girls organize meetups (1 x 2 months?), talks, workshops, bootcamps and other events. However, she also stressed that what SG Geek Girls become depends on the interests and input of the community itself.

We did a wonderful introduction round where each person explained their interests and motivations for attending and was supported by applause and very often also cheers. Although the event brought together various people, I would say that majority of the girls were recent or soon-to-be graduates of NUS or NTU and were mainly interested in meeting like-minded girls who have interest in technology. While some girls had a technical background, many girls expressed their interest in learning programming. Working in close contact with geeky guys and not understanding the language they talk (programming languages after all are languages, right?) seems to be an issue of control {when he says this can not be done, is it true?} and also empowerment {to make the website the way I feel it should be, I need to know how to make it}Rather few of the girls wanted to start or already had started their own companies.

I had multiple lovely conversations with girls that afternoon and a point that I kept thinking long after the meeting was regarding the acquisition of knowledge. Very often we feel like other people ‘just somehow know it all’- as if magically guys were born with internalized and always up-to date knowledge about gadgets and sports tournaments. I bet that from guys’ perspective it might seem as well that girls are similarly born with  internal knowledge about cosmetics and celebrity weddings. None of which is true. Its all just a matter of practices that we observe and repeat, and the conversations that we have with people around us on every day basis.  Having the experience of being a minority back at Media Tech (we were a group of 20 guys and 4 girls) I can relate to many sentiments shared in the meetup. I truly believe that it is important to create a space where girls can come together, discuss technology in a manner that reflects how they feel about it- including dreams as well as insecurities- and enrich themselves with the support they get from others.

Thumbs up for Joyce and Mingfei for initiating this and I wish SG Geek Girl community grows strong and prospers :) I was very happy to see that a lot of inspiration for this event was stemming from the Hackerspace SG. Even if  building and sustaining a strong community is not an easy task, the atmosphere was full of excitement and that is a good starting point.

PS. Guys are always warmly welcomed to join as long as they bring girls along.

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geek girls logogeek girl prideJoyce and GwenMingfei YanGroup photoHello Geeks introduction speech by Joyce

SG Geek Girls Meetup, a set on Flickr.