The L.A. Weekly blog recently did a profile on the PyLadies. “Who are the PyLadies,” you ask? A group of talented, interesting women we’re surprised we hadn’t heard of before and are happy to tell you about now.
Via the “About” section on their website:
We are a group of women developers worldwide who love the Python programming language. We write code by day or night. Some of us hack on Python projects on the side, while others work full-time on Python development. But it doesn’t matter. We all just like writing Python code, and that’s what brings us together.
Python, for those of you who don’t know (like me!), is a high-level programming language with leanings toward code readability. “We felt like anomalies,” Katharine Jarmul told LA Weekly of a programming meet-up last year. “I said very frankly, ‘Well, maybe we should stop complaining about it and do something.'”
Jarmul and a few other women in the industry got together and planned their own event. “The group’s first event was a daylong introduction to Python at KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena. Only women could register, although each could bring one male or female guest,” writes LA Weekly. “The workshop’s demographics proved a reversal of most events of its kind: 25 women and two men.
At a later event, Jarmul made a speech, “Python, especially Django, is something anyone can do. You don’t need computer-science schooling.” So where did Jarmul start? She “studied political science, then education and journalism, but began to teach herself programming while working on the websites of The Washington Post and later USA Today. PyLadies president Christine Cheung, who graduated from UC Riverside in 2007 with a degree in computer science, was one of just two women in her 54-student graduating class.”
“The Computing Research Association’s most recent survey shows that in 2010, just 13.4 percent of degrees in computer science and computer engineering in the United States and Canada were awarded to women,” writes LA Weekly. “Still, Cheung, 27, says the organization is not about excluding men. It’s about including women.”
The PyLadies hold local events in L.A. and Washington DC (if you’re around LA, there’s one February 25) and were happy to discover there was enough of them to form a group like this. They’ve recently applied for non-profit status with the aim of growing and adding training sessions for kids and a scholarship program to their activities. If you’re interesting in starting a chapter in another city, they’d love to hear from you. You can follow them on twitter and read more about them on their website.
(via LA Weekly)