Girl geeks meet for International Women's Day

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A new support group for Australian women in the IT industry has emerged in the lead up to International Women's Day.

Predominantly targeted at female computer scientists and software engineers, Girl Geek Dinners is a technically focussed group that aims to fill what organisers say is a vacuum in user groups for women technologists in Sydney.

The next dinner will take place on Sunday March 9 at Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens. Dubbed Dinner 01, the event follows a successful inaugural dinner that was sponsored by Google and IT consultancy ThoughtWorks and held on February 28.

"Providing a group that shows you are part of a growing part of your industry encourages people to stay in IT and others to join," said Damana Madden, co-founder and organiser of Girl Geek Dinners and a consultant at ThoughtWorks.

"There is a technical focus [of Girl Geek Dinners] with the intention of having fun and connecting with other women in IT."

Industry response to the new group has been very strong Madden said, so much so that the organisers were forced to restrict the number of attendees at the inaugural dinner to 45 people.

And while the group specifically focuses on women it was a man who initially got the Girl Geek Dinner ball rolling.

"Jason Yip, who I work with, came to me with the idea and together we organised the first dinner - Dinner Zero," Madden said.

"Our interest is creating an environment in IT that encourages more diversity - not just concerning women. Different people bring different ideas to the work environment," she said.
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