Women Who Code launches Vancouver chapter

Tech-savvy women are gathering to talk shop, share knowledge and ultimately shift their industry into a more inclusive future.

This past week marked the launch of WomenWhoCode (WWCode) in Vancouver, and the growing response from professional women in technology careers may signal a new era for the industry. After only two weeks of operating locally, the WWCode network has approximately 280 members, has partnered with over 12 technical companies, and has booked several exciting speakers for upcoming events.

WWCode Network Director Reetu Mutti says she has met few senior female engineers in her 12 years as a software engineer. “Software has always been a disproportionately male-dominated industry, but the further I progress in my career, the worse the imbalance,” she notes. 

Enter WWCode: the professional community for women in tech provides an avenue for female engineers to network, support each other, navigate their careers, gain new tech skills and hone existing ones.

The Prevail Project heard from Holly Peck, who helps lead the Vancouver chapter along with Directors Elgin McLaren, Reetu Mutti, and Zoe Alexander.

“Something like this in Vancouver really needed to happen yesterday,” Peck admits.

“A diversity of viewpoints, skillsets, and social and cultural experiences makes better products; women, LGBTQ, people of colour, and minorities must be included in software decision making to yield more inclusive and relevant products.”

Peck’s phone has been lighting up since the recent kickoff event, which featured Stacey Mulcahy, program manager at Microsoft Garage and owner of Bitch Who Codes. She presented on working with JavaScript beyond web development and into “IOT” (Internet of Things), and was joined by Amelia Hardjasa, data scientist and product manager (New Hippo Health, Data Scientist, Boeing Canada), who spoke on climate change and how to use data science to monitor energy efficiencies in the home.

WWCode is creating a forum for females to advance their technical skills, which is valued no matter what career you’re in. Specifically, coding makes it possible for developers to create a range of products, including software, applications, websites and more. Programs and systems we all use daily, including web browsers, phone apps, social media platforms and of course the Prevail website itself are all made with code.

“Perhaps the most fundamental skill programming teaches you is the ability to learn new languages and technologies, and the ability to understand how you learn” says Peck. “Stacey Mulcahy put it very poignantly . . . once you understand how you learn, you are unstoppable.”

WWCode will continue to host coding workshops, hack nights, training sessions, and networking events, all to gather and inspire females in the tech industry. The next event has WWCode partnering up with PlentyOfFish for a February meetup at POF headquarters, known as The Aquarium.

The new Vancouver chapter is part of the world organization, which has grown to be one of the largest communities of women engineers in the world, garnering a membership of more than 50,000 people in 20 countries. The success of the global push to come together to celebrate women in tech and inspire professionals continues to be encouraging.

“I want to see more female CEOs, and more minorities and people of colour in C-Suite positions at Fortune 500 companies,” says Peck. “I want Silicon Valley to do its laundry, and I want a less homogenous, more colourful tech industry. I want to see women up front, and I know Women Who Code will help achieve that.”

For more information or to join the inspiring community of female tech professionals, visit: womenwhocode.com/vancouver

Val Rossi