In 2007, our Founder Adriana Gascoigne established Girls in Tech with a vision of eliminating the gender gap in tech. Yet we’re often asked if the word ‘girls’ fits with this vision. What does it mean? Is it appropriate and inclusive?
We know that words matter. They can be used to build people up or tear people down – and women often bear the brunt of unthoughtful language in the workplace.
So, we want to be transparent about why we’re ‘Girls’ in Tech.
‘Girls’ is about the spirit of our organisation
In the right context, we believe that ‘girls’ has a positive and powerful connotation.
When Adriana started the organization, she was working for a tech startup, and was inspired by the culture and energy.
She says, “I really like the startup culture. It’s fun, inviting, and you can try new things. You’re building something with your ‘family’, essentially. It’s a friendly and collaborative environment. It’s more care-free. You can take more risks. I felt that resonated with how I define being a girl.”
‘Girls’ was intentionally chosen to harness this fun and carefree energy. But it’s important to understand that the term shouldn’t discount older or more experienced women.
It’s about harnessing a Beginner’s Mind
While we’re proud of the opportunities and resources Girls in Tech offers young women at the beginning of their careers, we’re for women of all professional stages. In fact many of our community members are advanced in their careers, holding incredible leadership positions and even mentoring younger women to achieve their goals and dreams.
In saying that, the spirit of ‘Beginner’s Mind’ is very much at the heart of our organization:
“When you are new to something, you don’t know anything about it. In order to open your mind to learn, and develop understanding, you adopt a unique mindset.” (Patrick Buggy, Mindful Ambition)
This concept of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconception (known as ‘Shoshin’ in Zen Buddhism) perfectly encapsulates the values of Girls in Tech. We’re constantly questioning why things are the way they are and challenging our community to stay open-minded. We believe that fresh perspectives are vital in building inclusive and equitable workplaces and societies.
It’s not based on prestige
There’s another positive association we like about the word ‘girls’. It’s down-to-earth and free from fluff.
As a young woman in tech, Adriana found many women’s organizations intimidating, expensive, and often based around awards and prestige.
“At these events, the leaders and role models weren’t really accessible,” she says. “I wasn’t learning anything from them. There was no skill building or educational component.”
Girls in Tech is purposely designed to be accessible to all women, despite their level of experience or financial situation.
Our global community offers a support network for women entering the tech field anywhere in the world. Our events are fun, exciting, interactive and based on creativity and collaboration. Our resources are about helping women move the needle in their careers by growing skills and learning from others.
Anyone can find a home in Girls in Tech, irrespective of their background, their industry, their gender preference or their career achievements. We believe everyone has something to offer tech, and we have something to offer every woman.
Everyone is welcome
If you don’t identify with the word ‘girl’, we hope we’ve given you a positive lens to view it through in how we’ve established our organization. But also know that Girls in Tech is about more than ‘just girls’.
Beyond the inclusivity of females, “we want to make sure that people that represent intersectional communities like LGBTQIA, disabled communities as well as racially diverse communities also have a seat at the table,” Adriana adds. “We want them to offer their talents, skills, experiences and different perspectives in building new and interesting innovations and tech products and services.”
We want to invite you all to take a seat at the table. Connect with your peers here, judgement-free, and find support in our global but unified network.
Your contribution to our work is invaluable. If you identify with our organization and feel an alignment with our purpose and programs, then Girls in Tech is your community and your home. We welcome you. We lift you up. We want you here.
We believe that there is a strong, smart and outspoken girl within all of us. We exist to make sure that girl is heard. And we aim to see every person accepted, confident and valued in tech — just as they are.
When you’re asked how you fit into the industry, we want you to boldly say: “As I Am.”