This past Friday, DCFemTech announced the launch of “Tour de Code”, a month-long series of events and workshops throughout October that will be aimed at supporting women in the DC region who have an interest in going into, or who are new to, the tech community. From events like “Intro to Collaborating with GIT” and “Drinks & Doodles Workshop”, the initiative is focused on further supporting the roles of women in DC's tech and design communities.
“Tour de Code provides an opportunity to increase awareness of DCFemTech in the community, so that women in tech and women who want to get into tech can navigate the space better,” says DCFemTech co-organizer Stephanie Nguyen. “We want women to know about all these great organizations that are providing these great opportunities – to share the message that tech isn't scary, and that there's support out there.”
Created in May of this year, DCFemTech is a collective made up of more than 25 organizations throughout the DC region that aim to support women in tech. Organizations in the group include Women Who Code DC, the National Center for Women in Tech, Code for Progress, and many others. Nguyen – who's also the cofounder of DC-based startup Silica Labs – was inspired to organize the group after discovering (in her own search to find support for broadening her technical skills) that all these different organizations were already collaborative in nature. DCFemTech allows these groups to come together and find new ways to help lower the barrier for women in tech and to provide the necessary resources to help them reach their career goals.
“It's pretty powerful to see all these organizations working together on one agenda,” says Nguyen. “When you have all these women in a room together, you hear all the things that women in the community actually want or need, and you see organizations that can actually work towards bringing those things. [Through DCFemTech] there's a sharing of resources, knowledge, space, and partnerships – all to help other women and to help increase collaboration in the tech community.”
Tour de Code is DCFemTech's first major initiative since the collective was born. According to Nguyen, the series is focused on really encouraging other women to come out and to see what it's like to work in tech. Many of the events throughout the month are geared towards those with no prior experience in tech or design, or for those who are just new and starting off a new career in these fields. Especially in an industry that's notoriously dominated by men, Nguyen notes that even merely surrounding yourself with other women can provide a greater sense of empowerment and motivation:
“It's different when you have a room of women – it's just a special thing. It provides this special kind of environment that gets them willing to take the plunge. It also motivates them to find more women to go to these events with and to hold them accountable to their goals.”
Stephanie Nguyen is a Tech Cocktail contributing writer.