It all started in September 2007, when Microsoft held the first ever Women-In-Technology panelist session during its inaugural Tech.Ed SEA conference. It was a lively session, with several hundred women participating in sharing their experiences of working in the Information Technology (IT) industry. It was this day that we realised that there were many other women in Malaysia who face the same challenges in life and work as we do.
A shocking fact – a majority of women drop out of the IT workforce in their late-20s due to these same challenges:
The IT industry is male-dominated.
“I’m often the only female in my entire team/department.”
“There’s not many women role models I can look up to.”
IT never sleeps. IT jobs are typically demanding.
“My job is very demanding, so I work from morning until night. How do I even find time to look for a new relationship?”
“I’m forced to quit my job to care for my new family. There’s not enough time to balance both my work and family life.”
IT changes very quickly.
“I’ve had to leave my IT job for a few years to care for my kid. But how do I get back into the workforce when some of my IT skills are already outdated?”
The session touched our hearts and inspired us – and we just knew that we had to keep the conversation going. We knew we had to do something. So, some of us got together and started Gorgeous Geeks – a non-profit special interest group for existing and former women in the IT industry. Officially launched in January 2008, GG’s aims to create an open environment that promotes learning, sharing, mentoring as well as provide support for IT girl geeks. Our original vision is to inspire IT girl geeks to identify and realise their full potential while achieving a balanced lifestyle. Our main activities include quarterly meet-ups such as forums and workshops to discuss various women and IT-related topics.
Collage1That’s how we started. Fortunately, with much blessings and support from our sponsors, patrons and members, GG has grown in these past few years to an organisation that is much larger than we could have ever imagined. From just quarterly meet-ups, we now have a host of conferences, workshops, programmes, networking sessions and other events in our list of activities (with even more to come!).
As the IT world progresses, GG has also evolved since then. GG was initially intended for women in the IT industry, but since 2008, technology has grown to become a lot more prevalent and important in our lives. GG has now expanded to support women who use technology to enhance their lives. As women who have benefited from leveraging on technology, GG now organises activities and programmes that focuses on empowering women’s lives using technology.