Women Code Their Way to the Top

Women-only technology workshops increasingly in demand


By Amanda Poole

Women-only technology workshops provide a safer space for women to learn, according to organizers and participants.

Ewuraesi Thompson, the Vancouver chapter lead for Canada Learning Code, a non-profit organization that hosts coding workshops for girls and women, said women want to learn in a space that won’t make them feel inferior or insecure.

“A women-only or majority [workshop] is a place where people can feel safe, which is why we put them on,” Thompson said.

Women learn web design and more

Canada Learning Code is in its sixth year of hosting Ladies Learning Code where women and youth can learn about web design, artificial intelligence, WordPress and more. Other non-profit organizations such as Django Girls and Women Who Code, Vancouver teach similar courses and also highlight a safe atmosphere.

Christina Reider, a recording engineer, said attending Ladies Learning Code was one of the best educational experiences she has ever had.

“I felt like I could ask more questions,” Reider said. “There was a certain relaxed vibe that I really enjoyed.”

Thompson said there is a wide range of women interested in women-only technology workshops.

Participants range from lawyers to accountants

“It ranges from people who are unemployed and looking for a job to lawyers and accountants who want to up their skills,” Thompson said.

Jessie Adcock, the chief technology officer for the City of Vancouver, has been working in technology for 20 years. Adcock said there are noticeably fewer women than men in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

A Statistics Canada report confirms Adcock’s observation, despite the fact it also shows that women represent the majority of young university graduates.

Learning in a less pressured environment

Adcock said women-only technology workshops allow women to explore STEM careers in a less pressured environment.

“It reduces a barrier to entry because it allows women to see what this is all about without necessarily having to go up against other external pressures,” Adcock said.

“I see it as a good thing.”

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