Besides being voted in for the opportunity to present our respective specialty topics during the conference – GeoDjango for me, RDF/SparQL for Stefan – we were stoked to be able to hear from and learn from some of the best Python developers in Europe.
PSF adopts the Diversity Statement
Aside from talks about really interesting technical topics (which is another story that I will tell another day), I was also inspired by Python Software Foundation’s (PSF) efforts to actively encourage diversity and the adoption of Python as a programming language among the fairer sex.
Promoting the use of Python among the fairer sex
Anna Martelli Ravenscroft was particularly persuasive. She explained that promoting diversity and advocating the use of Python among the fairer sex is more than just a politically correct philosophy.
Drawing a funny analogy about how curb cuts or ramps were originally designed to benefit disabled pedestrians or aged people in wheelchairs, they have also – unexpectedly – proved to be really useful in the narrow streets of Firenze! For an unforeseen user demographic – drivers who need to squeeze their cars into the sidewalk, of course. :-))
Likewise, she believes that PSF’s adoption of the diversity statement and the recent phenomenon in the startup community in Silicon Valley (and beyond) to encourage more women to participate in entrepreneurial activities is more than the “right thing to do”. The hypothesis is simple – adopting diversity is a pragmatic philosophy and will create unforeseen benefits to the Python community specifically, and to the Tech Entrepreneurial Community at large.
To watch Anna’s full video – for she is certainly more eloquent than I will ever be – torrent the video from this page http://ep2011.europython.eu/conference/talks/diversity-as-dependency, or more directly here - http://ep2011.europython.eu/conference/talks/diversity-as-dependency/video.mp4
Action, not Words ;-)
Well, I think it’s a grand idea indeed and, instead of just talking about it, I am going to volunteer my time to organize a Python/Django Beginners course specifically intended for the ladies in Singapore.
Without knowing how this initiative may end up in my home country, I am simply going to take a leap of faith. This proposed women-participants-only workshop is intended to encourage the adoption of programming (in Python) as an activity for women entrepreneurs and women in general, in Singapore.
My proposed plan is to run this beginner course over 3 Saturdays in August, tentatively set on 13th, 20th and 27th of August 2011 – 1pm to 5 pm each day.
This workshop will be practical and hands-on and participants are expected to bring their own laptop. The (ambitious) end goal of the workshop will be to have all participants (new to Python, and Django) understand the fundamentals of Python programming and each participant to put up a simple web app (of their own idea/design) online!
Interested women participants: please leave me a note below this blog post to confirm your participation and I will compile the participant list and start communicating with all over email!
It will be interesting to see how – over time – having more women programmers in Singapore Python User Group will change the dynamics of our community, generate ripple effects in Singapore’s growing entrepreneurial community and (maybe) create unexpected benefits.
A number of open source software community leaders in various institutions (NUS, NTU, Republic Poly etc) have also offered to help spread the word.
- Laurence Putra Franslay, community leader with NUS Hackers, has passed on the message to their mailing list and Shao Hong, also from NUS, passing on the message to his fellow hackers.
- Ngo Minh Nam has passed on the message to his junior open source hackers at Republic Poly.
- Adrianna Tan, hotshot lady entrepreneur, pretty and pretty well-known in the local scene :-)) , has passed on the message to her networks.
- Yan Phun, founder of Flickevents.com (and need I mention? She’s a lady entrepreneur, designer and hacker) has kindly offered their services to manage this event online. So sign ups will be managed from her site from tomorrow onwards!