Last Thursday, the Launch Café was all about coding and programming in an informal setting. Girls Who Like Code is a loosely organized collective of women and for women, whether they’re seasoned professionals or just getting started. During meetups, anyone interested can just sit down and work on their projects, help each other out, share ideas and information, all while enjoying a drink and a snack or two.
The concept is already a few years old, but after a brief hiatus, Hillie and Rosien decided to bring it back to life. “We asked the former organizers if we could take things over and start it up again, because it’s a great way to meet likeminded women”, Hillie explains. “This is our second edition and last time, we had women of 6 different nationalities joining us, ranging from 20 years old to someone in her late 60’s even.”
Rosien and Hillie want to organize a GWLC meetup every other month in a different location, alternating between Thursdays and Saturdays. “It’s just a low key, informal gathering, where you can just chat, have a drink and work together or on your own project”, Hillie says.
Programming, coding and most other things IT related are still very much male dominated sectors. Hillie has a background in multimedia design and works as a software developer at Alledaags and Rosien works as a web developer for Spindle. “There’s still a stigma”, says Rosien. “Sometimes people have that weird look on their faces when you tell them you’re into coding.”
“It just happens”, Rosien continues. “But when it happens a couple of times, you just feel singled out, up until the point where you don’t want to tell people what you do or even stop doing it. It’s just such a shame when you feel like you can’t share something you’re passionate about, just because of other people’s expectations.”
“It’s not that we’re waving the feminist flag here”, Hillie adds jokingly. “But I think it’s important to just be able to go somewhere to share and talk about your passion with like minded people. We want to take away as many obstacles as we can, make it easy and fun to join, which is why our evenings are loose and informal. And having a role model is also so important, which is why we also invite female speakers to talk about their areas of expertise or cool projects they’re working on.”
Amino Acid Fighter
There are other initiatives like GWLC in Groningen, such as Rails Girls or Django Girls, offering workshops. “I’ve been to a couple of them, but I’ve noticed there’s not a lot of follow up or incentive to finish projects you started there”, Hillie says. “So we also want to be a place where you can keep working on these projects, get some help or help others.”
One of the women working on her pet project, is Biomedical Science student Carmen. “I took a 3 week programming course at the university, so I could learn to build computer based biological models for research”, Carmen explains. “But programming and coding is something you have to keep on doing to get better, so this is a great way for me to do just that.”
She’s currently working on a game. “Nothing fancy, it’s just something I really like doing to keep up my coding skills. It’s a 4 player game called Amino Acid Fighter. The premise of the game is pretty straightforward: each amino acid has a special power, you just pick one and fight others. Simple, but a lot of fun to work on!”
Interested in dropping by? Check out www.girlswholikecode.nl for more info and future meetups.