For 6 years I ran the largest physical conference for women in computing in the world called the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing located in the United States. I was also the conference founder for the Grace Hopper conference in India. I was often asked by technical women all over the world - places like Raleigh, Pune, and Kuala Lumpur - what I could do for them - how could I give them access to this conference and the community if they could not attend this annual event? I never had a good answer for them unless they could fly to the conference, take the time off of work, and pay the expensive travel and conference fees. It was very frustrating. About 4000 women attend Grace Hopper each year but hundreds of thousands globally can't attend.
Now there is a community and a conference offering everyone access, visibility and connection no matter where a technical woman lives on this planet.
In April 2012, a new organization launched, Global Tech Women, whose mission is to create a global network of connected, inspired and self-actualized technical women. My friend and former colleague, Jerri Barrett has joined Global Tech Women as our CMO and together we are reaching out to women around the world to create a global network of technical women, partners and organizations who share this vision.
We are holding a global virtual conference the week of International Women's Day - March 8th called Voices. We are starting in New Zealand and working our way around the world holding sessions from women in every region to talk about cool technology, topics of interest to the technical women's community and to offer ideas and best practices on a regional, national and international level on how we can encourage more women in technology and inspire the women in this community.
Since this is a new conference we are all working together with friends, partners and sponsors to find regional, national and international representatives who can discuss the latest technologies, articulate the challenges of being a technical woman, what has been done to resolve barriers, and who is involved in these conversations. We are asking women around the world to attend and to add their voice to the conversation making us all accessible and visible.
I am asking for your support, to help build a conference and a community for all of us, anywhere. How can you help? Register for the conference, invite your friends, post Voices on social media, celebrate International Women's Day with us and be part of the direction for this organization. Make it your own.
This is an opportunity for every woman in technology, with your support, to have access to relevant information, which in many parts of the world is difficult, providing community, inspiration and to create possibilities for connection and collaboration.
This is just the beginning of something entirely new.
I am excited about the possibilities and I hope you are too. Will you help?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,
- Deanna Kosaraju