Be a girl geek

Tech isn’t all rows of paunchy, pasty, unblinking dudes typing a bunch of ones and zeros into computers. On Monday, Sept. 24, Youth Employment Services is launching its Women in Technology Program.

RETHINKING TECH: YES’s Women in Technology program launches next week. Photo by espensorvik via Flickr

Ladies, your preconceived notions of the tech world being nothing more than rows of paunchy, pasty, unblinking dudes typing a bunch of ones and zeros into computers are outdated.

You can be those dudes! Or, better yet, you can be one of the women who one-up them.

“Often, women feel it’s hard to break into what is seen as a male-dominated field; they think they have to be exceptional [to make it in tech],” says Leann Brown of Youth Employment Services. In recent years, Brown and her YES colleagues couldn’t help but notice that women applying to tech jobs were heavily outnumbered by men.

And that’s precisely why they’re launching YES’s Women in Technology program on Monday, Sept. 24.

The program is free, save for a one-time $20 file-opening fee, and offers women seeking employment one-on-one business coaching, entrepreneurship mentoring and networking opportunities to help them break into the wide world of the Web.

“If you’re not a hardcore programmer or involved that heavily in tech, you often don’t realize how much flexibility there is in the tech world these days,” says Brown, the program’s coordinator.

The program is open to women 16 years and up. It aims to provide resources to young women when they’re starting to seriously consider their professional futures, as well as to older women re-evaluating their careers.

Brown says that there are many jobs available across the tech landscape that aren’t straight-up programming. In fact, she says, there’s a growing number of opportunities to channel one’s creativity and build on entrepreneurship skills — not least of all the ever-expanding arenas of gaming and social media.

The issue of women in tech is one close to Brown’s heart. As a student in Newcastle, U.K., she did her dissertation on cyberfeminism, and she is currently on board with the Montreal Girl Geeks. But she feels she’s always been on the periphery of the tech world, lingering on its edge but never completely jumping in.

When she discovered that YES had received funding support from Status of Women Canada, she knew she had to make the Women in Technology project hers.

Now she’s excited about the program launch and about the workshop and speaker series YES has lined up in conjunction with Women in Technology. Set to appear in the fall are Adele McAlear of the Death and Digital Legacy project and former YES client and the founder and CEO of Decode Global, Angelique Mannella. For more information on the Women in Technology program, visit their site. ■

The Women in Technology program launches Sept. 24 at 666 Sherbrooke W. #700 from 6–8 p.m. Entry is free, but online registration is appreciated (though not mandatory).

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