Inspiring: Girl Develop IT #becauseiamagirl

One thing I’m passionate about is the possibilities opened up for all of us by technology. And techincal literacy is an important way that we can open up those possibilities for women.

Another thing I’m passionate about is people who make a difference – those who get up off the sofa and take action. Sara Chipps is someone who has seen a need and taken action with her Girl Develop IT program, as she explains:

It can be intimidating for women to learn and ask questions when they are in an extreme minority. While open and welcoming, today’s budding developer community is up to 91% male. There isn’t a comfortable place where women can learn at their own pace and not be afraid to ask “stupid questions.”

We decided it was time to provide a place where all questions are OK and everyone can learn in a supportive environment. Our courses focus on coding, leveraging existing technology, and having something to show for it (aka building sweet websites).

And in Australia Pamela Fox has been inspired by Sara’s lead and is setting up a local version of Girl Develop IT in Sydney.

Kudos to Sara and Pamela for getting off the sofa and doing something to help build up technical literacy for women and girls.

This all fits rather nicely into the Plan Australia Because I am a Girl campaign:

You Can Help Change the World

Plan International says “There’s no greater enemy of inequality than keeping quiet!”

Act now! Spread the ‘Because I am a Girl’ message throughout your network of family, friends and colleagues.

Simple Things You Can Do Right Now …

  • Share your story here
  • Inform people about the campaign through your websites, newsletters, emails and other touch points. Plan can provide you logos and information on the campaign.
  • Host lunches with friends, partners and clients. Depending on the event Plan can provide content and speakers.
  • Plan can work with you to see how your business can build awareness among your customers and suppliers.
  • You can donate to Plan in Australia’s GirlsFund, that works to address the unique obstacles faced by girls.
  • You can sponsor a child with Plan. Over 48,000 individuals and businesses in Australia sponsor children with Plan.  Plan uses funds through child sponsorship to support projects that bring lasting change to a child’s entire community, such as gender equality.
  • For more ways on how you can support the campaign visit Plan Australia’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ website
  • Because I am a Girl Facebook Group
  • Twitter: @invest_in_girls

Authenticity versus narrative?

One of the most interesting observations about the recent Social Media Club Sydney event came from the esteemed Servant of Chaos (a.k.a. Gavin Heaton) in his post  Social Media Club Sydney Kicks Off.

Gavin noted that the theme of narrative (“storytelling and satire”) came up with each of the speakers at SMC Sydney. This is interesting because in social computing in general, and in social media in particular, much has been made of the virtues of authenticity. But are the two – authenticity and narrative – interlinked in important ways?

Lately I have become conscious of how much power authenticity achieves when it is placed within an effective narrative framework. Being authentic but dull or repetitive becomes boring.

A key element of powerful authenticity is personalisation of a story to create the feeling of  connection. And other key elements seem to be time and consistency. We need to see consistent appearance or message over time, or at least a consistent evolution over time.

A great example of this is Nick Hodge, whose recent Red Cordial Catharsis really got me thinking. As Nick has revealed more about his motivations and underlying ideas within a narrative context & this self revelation has made his ustream shows much more powerful.

This raises a lot of other interesting questions:

  • How do we demonstrate authenticity?
  • Why is it so compelling?
  • How do we know it when we see or hear it?
  • And, why are we so angry when we feel that authenticity is faked?

These are some of the issues that I’m thinking about at present, and I suspect there’ll be more on this topic later.