Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

The Women Who Go Wildfire

I started writing Go and attending Go meetups in SF in 2013.

Go meetups in SF back then were small, ~20–30 people, and I was almost always the only woman. Eventually, I got tired of this. I started Women Who Go in May of 2015.

At the time, Go had around 5% women. Now, 2.5 years later, the percentage hasn’t changed.

But the number of women has. The sentiment, the energy of the Go community has.

Retention

Most diversity-in-tech efforts focus on attraction, the driving thought being, “we have to get our numbers up RIGHT NOW”.

I firmly believe that this is why most diversity-in-tech efforts are failing — the focus only on attraction, and the ignorance of the extent of the retention problem. Too often, women are being cycled in as fast as they are cycling out.

If tech organizations and communities were able to retain women, they would, in turn, attract women with little additional effort.

A Smaller Pond

Let’s look at Go in 2015.

I knew I couldn’t fix the larger culture that was losing us our women engineers — not quickly enough, anyway. But still, we needed to be able to attract and retain women.

So instead of focusing on the larger community, I made a smaller pond smaller.

We made a new, sub-community, where women could feel safe and could be themselves in a technical environment.

We focused all our energy on retaining the few women we had.

The Women Who Go Wildfire

As we saw in the larger Go community circa 2014, aggression, hostility and oneupmanship will spread like wildfire in a community.

But so will love and respect.

The Women Who Go community started with just me.

Me, someone that women could always rely upon.

Me, encouraging, supporting, loving and respecting the few women I could find in the Go community.

These women then regained courage that had been depleted by the Go community, and went on to support more women.

And so the wildfire spread.

Chapters started popping up everywhere, carrying this same message, these same ideals of love and respect.

And this is why Women Who Go has grown so fast – because of the parasitic growth of mutual, undying love and respect.