It is a well-known fact that the global tech industry is dominated by men. Despite being one of the most progressive countries in the world, the Netherlands, unfortunately, is not an exception. Having said that, there are many local programmes and initiatives that aim to encourage women and girls to consider a career in tech.
Amsterdam’s tech scene aims for equal opportunities for everyone
In Amsterdam, everyone is encouraged to learn tech skills. Coding is embedded – no pun intended! – into the school curriculum from an early age, thanks to programmes such as Coding for Amsterdam. And there are several initiatives and academies encouraging Amsterdammers and internationals to get to grips with coding: Codaisseur, Le Wagon, Taste of Code, the App Academy – the list goes on.
Having said that, there has never been a more relevant time for women-focused initiatives and communities. Specifically, initiatives that inspire and encourage women to pursue a career in STEM fields, raise awareness of the gender gap in the tech industry and facilitate educational and networking opportunities for their members.
Here are just a couple of these initiatives.
Established in 2015, the initiative hosts regular talks and workshops across the Netherlands to inspire women to get into coding and raise awareness of the gender gap in technology.
Ladies that UX
The global initiative aims to help women meet to talk about all things UX. Ladies that UX holds monthly meetups in Amsterdam with a welcoming and transparent community of women who work in UX and positively promote and teach each other. Of course, budding UXers can join, too.
This global, non-profit community aims to provide tools and a community for women to better understand technology and build their ideas. With a focus on Ruby on Rails, members learn sketching, prototyping and basic programming at their free workshops.
An international mentorship of female developers with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python programming language community. PyLadies Amsterdam aims to promote, educate and advance the community through outreach, education, conferences, events and social gatherings. Whether you hack Python projects on the side or work full time on Python development, this group is for all women who love writing Python code.
SheSharp is a community of more than 700 people that aims to empower women by bringing diversity to the technology scene. They host monthly events that bridge the gap between STEM and Entrepreneurship. Some of their past events include: "Monetizing Your Online Presence" (hosted at Google); "Inside UX: The Improvement of User Experiences" (hosted by Usabilla) and "Women as Disruptors" (hosted by Uber, Philips, Salesforce and Optimizely).
Duchess is a global organisation for women working in Java technology. The group provides a platform through which women can connect and get involved in the wider Java community. It aims to make the role of women and individual women's contributions visible in the Java community and to teach the benefits of diversity in any team environment, whether corporate or open source.
Django Girls Amsterdam
Django Girls holds regular one-day workshops for women who are new to programming and want to learn how to build websites. Attendees of the free events will create a website using the Django Framework and Python and meet like-minded people in the industry.
European Women in Technology Conference
The annual Women in Technology series enables the sector to connect, learn and act on gender diversity by sharing the experiences of industry leaders and developing women’s skills, both soft and technical. Through inspirational keynote speakers, personal and career development workshops, technical classes and networking opportunities, this two-day event provides women with all the content needed to progress and flourish in the tech sector. The 2018 edition takes place on 28 and 29 November at RAI Amsterdam.
This Dutch organization aims for more women working in technology and ICT and more (gender) diversity in the labor market. For the Techionista Agency, it is all about inspiration. One of the most noteworthy projects of theirs is the Techionista Awards - a platform that celebrates exceptional women in tech and gives young girls role models to aspire to.
Code to Change
The Code to Change initiative's objective is to contribute to the achievement of gender equality and economic empowerment of women through digital inclusion. The organization aims to address the existing skills gap in the ICT sector and the associated digital gender divide and lack of diversity. To achieve this aim, Code to Change has designed and launched a training programme to teach women the key e-skills required to pursue a career in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. The Code to Change programme is powered by a vibrant community of female IT professionals and their allies at “Amsterdam Women in Technology”.