Make It Happen 2015

March has been filled with Make It Happen events, which has been the theme for International Women’s Day 2015 and Women’s History Month. The month started off with the International Women’s Day 2015 Awards, which I attended as part of the Manchester Girl Geeks team. We had been nominated for the Breaking through in volunteering award. Christine from The Fabulous Times wrote about the IWD Awards evening.

On that same weekend, Girl Geek’s Making IT Happen for Women took place at Autotrader. For this 50th Tea Party we had three speakers from the IT sector sharing their experiences and actionable tips to try out. Kayleigh Bateman, a writer from Computer Weekly covered the event in the following article: Success in IT is male-shaped but we can’t give up, says BCSWomen chair.

Making It Happen

To conclude the month I attended an evening of Make It Happen lightning talks organised by ThoughtWorks and Ladies Who Code. Here are just a few highlights:

Our evening began with Kirsty Hunter, a developer at Swinton, who I know through Girl Geeks (and was very proactive in getting her workplace to sponsor the Girl Geeks BarCamp last year). Her talk was about Getting Out There and outlined the benefits of attending tech, user group and social events – both locally and beyond. Although her initial motivation for attending was to help her as a developer in learning about new technologies, it has benefited her socially. By building a support network it has encouraged her to try new things – such as public speaking.

Sex, Murder, Rape & Apps from Rebecca Rae of Reason Digital was a talk with an intriguing title that I was looking forward to. I was already familiar with this local design agency, through The Cornerhouse’s Show & Tell in which Matt Haworth (Co-founder of Reason Digital) walked us through the use of spit in deciding which charitable causes he should donate to.

On this occasion, Rebecca told us about their development of a discrete mobile app to help alert sex workers to ‘dodgy punters’. The existing system in use is through a physical notice board located at a drop-in support centre, which is manually updated. Any urgent news may sometimes be missed or delayed as a result. This app will allow sex workers to input any information and share it immediately with other users. It is hoped that this will save lives and reduce harm to a vulnerable group in society.

I really like the work ethos of Reason Digital, in which they only work with organisations that do social good, and will look out for future opportunities to hear more about their work.

Florence Okoye, who I know from her time working at Mablab and helping us out at Girl Geeks events, gave us an overview of her wide range of interests and how it can be difficult focusing on one thing only. As someone who is also multi-passionate, I can really relate to this! Her talk, Intersections & Collaborations, showed us how these interests have gone on to weave out unique opportunities, such as her writing an academic paper on technology and disability – ‘Does Africa Dream of Androids?’. Perhaps at a future event, she’ll have the chance to delve deeper into her research findings.

Thank you to all the speakers who each shared a little of their personal insights. And a quick thanks to Tanvi Sethi and Amy Lynch for organising such an enjoyable evening!

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