This is a guest blog post by Jessica Erickson of 6Wunderkinder.
Let’s face it, the tech sector is dominated by men – it’s just how things are. I mentioned in a previous Silicon Allee post that we should focus more on the fact women have as much opportunity in the tech startup scene as men.
We need to stop complaining about the disparity and focus on what’s happening now and what we can all do to change the gender imbalance. Women are feeling more empowered than ever before and things are changing. I can see this right here in Berlin.
Several months ago I met with eight women from the Berlin tech scene. We decided to catch up over dinner and in the end we learned a lot from one another in less than two hours. Tips, career advice and new ideas were exchanged at the table. A strong bond formed and I immediately felt a sense of community for all of us. We were the Berlin Geekettes.
This past year I met Nicole Simon, a powerful figure in tech who understands the importance of binding women together to share their knowledge and experiences with others in their communities.
She spearheads the GirlGeekDinners here in Germany and unites experienced female entrepreneurs, developers and curious women who are looking to get into the field.
Confident Women Rather Than Girls
At the last dinner, she invited Caroline Drucker, partner marketing manager at SoundCloud, to speak on how women present themselves in the workplace. She discussed how language is in fact a reflection of power structures: “The way we speak reflects the way we live.” Drucker went on to discuss how feminism has turned into a ‘dirty’ word in the tech scene, but it shouldn’t be. She argues that we should focus on having discourse and stop calling ourselves “girls” and start representing ourselves as confident women in this industry. I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve been in the tech industry for several years now and have come face to face with gender bias and have heard it all. I’ve been told, “you don’t get tech because you’re a woman,” or “we can’t hire a female developer because they will distract all the male developers.” In the end, it’s a load of crap, ladies.
Rise above it, go for it, fight for it. Women can command the respect they deserve. It takes courage but if anyone tells you that you cannot make it in tech, prove ’em wrong. If women like Sheryl Sandberg are around, anything is possible. The sky’s the limit.
Berlin’s Star Women
I’m 100 percent inspired by the women I’ve met with here in Berlin. Charlette Prevot of 6Wunderkinder braved it and co-founded a company with five other men. Shermin Voshmgir is set to really shake things up in the film industry with a new platform called Cinovu. Daniela Schiffer will soon be launching the Changers device here in Europe enabling everyone to generate and consume their own energy – with a goal of ending global warming.
All women aim to do big things in their respective industries and are committed to meeting and helping other women in Berlin. I hope Silicon Allee readers can connect with them at the next networking event and hear their stories. It’s inspiring to hear how women are building satisfying careers in the tech world and the advice and tips they offer can be priceless.
I look forward to meeting more women in all levels of the tech industry. This weekend the lovely Zoe Adamovicz will be hosting a brunch for the Berlin Geekettes. She is a co-founder of Xyologic and a Berlin Geekette worth getting to know. I’m sure she will inform and inspire all of us on what it’s like to be a female entrepreneur in this amazing city and perhaps become a role model for many in attendance.
There are plenty of women out there just like me, who want to help make a difference in the tech world at the helm of a startup. Why should the fact that you’re a woman stop you doing that? You are capable, smart and ambitious. We’re all human, and we should start thinking that way.