Why don’t men* like women in tech?

This morning, I checked LinkedIn as I usually do and amongst the kittens (no seriously, who is putting all these kittens there?) I spotted this:

Zalando

Names have been blurred to protect the douche-y.

Zalando is a huge tech company in Germany where a former colleague of mine, a woman, works as a front end developer. A big well done to them, as they are obviously trying to recruit more diversely and support their employees.

But what is up with the second comment? Here is a clearly talented and interesting woman, representing her employers in a professional capacity. And once again a man is taking the opportunity in a public forum to degrade someone based on their gender/looks.  FYI, an arm tattoo never was, and never will be what the urban dictionary defines as a ‘tramp stamp’. Why don’t some* men like women in tech?

I am new to the development side of digital, having a digital marketing background, but the more time I spend talking to people, the more I realise what a HUGE problem there is in our agencies and our start-ups. Where are the women? Where are the people of colour, different socio-economic backgrounds, and ages? We can’t all be sub-30 white dudes with a potty mouth. Intellectually, I have always known this but I have only recently become witness to the indifference of the technology industry.

I was angry enough to politely ask this chap to think about what he was saying and whether it was the right forum – which for some reason was subsequently deleted. Now I AM VERY ANGRY. If this was a guy holding a dog talking about his love of agile, who happened to have a forearm tattoo, I struggle to think where an insult or ‘assessment’ like the above would come into it.

And from here on in I will make it my mission to champion women/diversity in tech at every opportunity. Starting with my own team, support of 23 Code Street and beyond…!

* Of course not every man is an ass-hat and are very valued allies. It’s a broad generalisation, but yeah, its getting a bit awkward.

PS. Kittens. Perfect for blogs, not so much LinkedIn in my opinion.

For the love of tea

358th anniversary of tea

Cool design. What ho! This week Google celebrated the most loving, long-term relationship on earth, the one between Brits and their tea. “The first advert for tea in England appeared on this date [23 September] in a publication from 1658 describing it simply as a “China Drink.” A couple of years later, English Naval Administrator Samuel Pepys wrote about drinking tea in his diary entry from 1660.”

And on that note check out the Food Timeline, an incredible archive of food and their first recorded mentions in history. Endlessly fascinating – who knew pretzels first popped up in the 5th century?

Let’s Get Digital

Let's Get Digital

Karen Walker of the eponymous brand
Karen Walker of the eponymous brand.

Let’s Get Digital

Let's Get Digital

Pokemon arranged by colour
Gotta catch them all – Pokemon arranged by colour.

India – Delhi

It’s been as hot as heck in London this week, which reminded me I still had some photos left from India, namely New Delhi, to share. My friends have taken to teasing me  – ‘have you heard where Amber went?!’ but whatever. It was THAT good.

Humayun's tombdelhi-tombHumayun’s tomb is one of the inspirations for the Taj Mahal, and will also be known forever as the place where I freaked out my cousin Shell by refusing to move in the 41°C heat… It was Just. Too. Hot. having flown directly in from the London chill.delhi-sky
I went on a street food tour with a great guy called Jeswin, who fed me all sorts of delicious things including fruit beer, gulab jamun and paneer shawarma. By dish number 13 I was flagging, but he cheerfully kept up the team effort. Bonus – he recommended some great Bollywood movies.Delhi Food Tourdelhi-street-fooddelhi-masala-sodaDelhi - Lassi Light

Agrasen ki Baoli is a is a 60-metre long and 15-metre wide step well in the centre of the city. It’s a bit of an architectural wonder, said to be over 1000 years old. Originally used as a water reservoir, now it offers respite from the bustle of Connaught Place and is home to quite a few bats!

delhi-step-well

One of my other favourite places in Delhi was the Jama Masjid. I was impressed with the scale of everything – the courtyard alone can hold 25,000 worshippers.

delhi-mosque

Side note: Next time I go to India I definitely plan to take a graduated filter set for my camera lenses as the brightness of the skies made everything under/overexposed. C’est la vie…

Fancy Hands: virtual assistance of the fanciest kind

Fancy Hands is a team of assistants who can help you do your work. Start knocking things off your to do list by assigning them to your own, living, breathing, Fancy Hands assistant.

Doesn’t it sound like a compelling offer? A digital right hand man or woman, ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

The assistants are all based in the US, but the service is available all over the world – as long as they can use a computer or a phone to achieve it – they can do it. I’ve had no problem being on the other side of the pond; in fact I’ve had help on both local tasks and even a task which require making a phone call to New Zealand.

Here are some of the tasks I’ve had the wonderful assistants help out with:

  • Find interviews/articles on souschef.co.uk
  • Find cool cases for my Nexus 5 phone
  • What are some cocktails with milk?
  • Edit Google Docs spreadsheet
  • Call Private Box and cancel mail holding service
  • Reccomend me three email marketing books
  • Research three savoury pie recipes
  • Look up tide times (for mudlarking!)
  • Research vintage stores in Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Screengrab social media accounts for the following brands

To date I have made 107 requests, had 61 calls made on my behalf and scheduled one event… saving approximately 1.5 days of time. When creating task requests you do have to be a bit prescriptive, but I take it on the chin as practice in the fine art of writing a brief.

Get Fancy, save some of your precious time. This is a referral link, but I would only recommend things I truly love, so trust me on this one. Plus, you’ll get half price on the first month.

La Piscine

La Piscine is a museum of art and industry, located in the city of Roubaix in northern France – part of the Lille metropolitan area. It’s about 20 minutes away from Lille Flandres train station on the metro.

piscine

And what a treat it is! A contemporary art museum, housed in an art-deco public swimming pool.   Set across several levels, the main pool area remains a central focus, with sculptures lining a shallow body of water. Every so often the sound of children laughing and splashing is piped in, adding to the atmosphere.

piscine-stained-glassLille Piscine Statue

The showers and changing rooms are either used as walkways from one room to the next, or they house exhibition pieces. The gift store is perched alongside enormous tanks in the old filtration room, and what used to be the refreshment area has become a restaurant.

changing-roomStatue of a woman at La PiscinePool Tiles - La Piscine

Definitely worth a jaunt if you’re in the area!

Learning to code

How would you instruct someone to make a cup of tea if they had never done it before? This was a logic exercise we tackled in the very first session of 23 Code Street.

It sounds like a rather random activity on first consideration, but making a cup of tea, switching on a light or firing up your favourite website… These are all things we take for granted in our everyday life. But how does it all work?

Enter: the coding class – 12 weeks of getting to grips with HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, JQuery, SQL and an introduction to Python. All in the company of a great group of women who are also starting at the beginning.

As I’ve been declining any social invitations for Monday and Thursday nights, people inevitably ask, ‘Why do you want to learn to code’? Good question. Code is at the heart of what I do for a living – taking people’s ideas and bringing them to life online. Let’s be honest, I spend most of my working hours on the internet and embarrassed to say my coding experience ended about the same time MySpace fell out of fashion!

So far the bits and pieces of HTML and CSS I’ve gleaned I have been able to instantly implement: I’ve edited my employer’s website to use HTML class attributes and change font specifications with one line of code, and made sense of a website brief with regards to being mobile adaptive vs responsive.

Responsive - Adaptive

 

It’s said that “Diversity increases innovation and success,” and innovation is something that really motivates me. I also hope that learning the mechanics will help me bridge the knowledge gap for my clients and be a better part of my team.

At the end of the course I also would like to create a website/service for my industry that I’ve spotted a gap for, as well as an online portfolio… Watch this space!

Let’s Get Digital

Let's Get Digital

The actual photo, taken by Ted Thai in 1981. Ted Thai / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty