Meet Django Girls
Growing the Django Girls Community
“Django Girls is a non-profit organization and a community that empowers and helps women to organize free, one-day programming workshops by providing tools, resources and support.”
It’s been almost four years since Django Girls was formed, and we’ve been excited to see the vast impact of the community’s efforts. Something that started out as the dream of two women to improve tech spaces, has now turned into this global movement whose effects can be seen in every corner of the world. You need only visit #iamadjangogirl to see just how many people have been helped.
If Twitter isn’t your thing, let’s see the raw data. Since July 2014 we’ve held 648 events with 16,189 attendees in 455 cities across 93 countries in the world. The Django Girls’ Code of Conduct has been translated into 5 different languages and the Django Girls Tutorial into 16 different languages.
Django Girls Grand Rapids is one of those 455 cities and we were honored to be asked to manage the Django Girls booth at PyCon in Cleveland, Ohio this year. Because of our participation, we were able to sponsor tickets to PyCon for two volunteers from under-represented groups that might not otherwise have been able to go.
I was one of the three people that volunteered to help out with the booth. We spent several days up to the event preparing, and three days at the booth answering questions, inspiring new organizers, and showing PyCon how to run a fun booth!
Besides inspiring future organizers (Cleveland now has a Django Girls of its own!), one of the other benefits of running a Django Girls Booth is to hear all the positive feedback, success stories, and gratitude from conference attendees. This year we wanted to create something concrete out of all of these kind words to be able to share with the other organizers, coaches, and volunteers that couldn’t hear them, but should. We used a white tablecloth and welcomed PyCon attendees to share their drawings, words of gratitude, and words of encouragement for others. And in part, that’s what I want to share with you, because “Coding with Kindness” is contagious.
Kindness Is Contagious
The impact of Django Girls goes far beyond the direct impact that this organization has had in the attendees’ lives. In each of the 648 workshops, there were women empowered to take the lead and organize their own Django Girls workshop. There were coaches who overcame their imposter syndrome and donated time to help others learn. And now that some cities are on their fourth year of workshops, some of those coaches were previous year’s participants! Experienced developers learned how to be an ally to women in tech by embracing the “Code with Kindness” mantra. Others were inspired to continue creating welcoming spaces in all aspects of their lives. So while we are empowering women to be leaders and participants to be programmers, we are also recruiting others to support them in their journeys.
This is especially important in some cities where there aren’t any women in tech spaces or that might be less accepting of women in tech. Bringing Django Girls there will not necessarily change the culture, but it can at least create a space where women feel comfortable, supported, and encouraged.
We have a vastly growing community in disadvantaged and developing countries, and as such, our focus right now is working on supporting sustainable growth for the organisation so we can ensure workshops in these areas continue for the foreseeable future.
We’re also working on continued support for existing organisers. We try to pair new teams with more experienced mentors to guide them through their first workshop, and we’re also working on supporting all our volunteers to find a good balance, ensuring that they don’t take on too much, and suffer from volunteer burnout.
There’s Still Work to Do
We’ve now provided workshop places to over 16,000 women across the world and will continue to support women in tech roles to address the gender imbalance. We need diversity in development teams to ensure that the digital solutions of the future represent and meet the diverse needs of the people using them. Bringing more women into tech is a vital part of the industry’s continued success.
We’ve come a long way and helped a lot of people but there is still so much more to do and more people to help.
Ways you can get involved:
Donate your time:
And as always, continue to Code with Kindness.
Django Girls’ Rocking Booth - Highlights
Although our organization is run completely on donations and sponsors, we were able to put together a fun booth that got a lot of the attendees’ attention.
Stickers Markers and Other Important Supplies
Emoji Stickers for Decorating Badges