The Bath Girl Geek Dinners, a meetup aimed at bringing together women interested in tech, is set to re-launch this month with its first event on 8 March at the Raven pub in Bath. Working in conjunction with local businesses, Bath Girl Geek Dinners intends to expand its membership and share the success of the popular Bristol Girl Geek Dinners.
Less than 10% of those in the tech industry are women, and the number of young people applying for technical degrees is dwindling each year. Bath Girl Geek Dinners hopes to change that.
Marianne Wise (pictured left), who will be leading the re-launch, is eager to use the Women’s Tech Hub network to create exciting projects that use brilliant female minds. Marianne encourages all female geeks (with the option to bring male plus ones) to join her on 8 March and start the Dinners off with a bang.
The first of many meetups
Marianne tells us: “We’ll be starting with some informal drinks at The Raven in Bath. There, we’ll discuss the needs of the area and have a debate about what challenges Bath holds for women in STEM fields particularly.”
The event offers the chance to find out what’s already going on locally for women and will allow Bath Girl Geeks to see where there are any gaps in training, workspace and employment.
“We hope to find sponsorship from those who know how important it is to increase diversity in the STEM fields”
Marianne adds: “We’ll be following the IT Girls Collaborative meetup at the Bath Innovation Centre, which will provide us with some food for thought.”
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The Dinners will be a forum for women in a variety of fields to come together and discuss the latest developments in the tech industry. They’re also a place to solve problems, perhaps helping those who are having issues in the workplace or returning to tech work after a break.
Following the initial meetup, Marianne plans to have at least one guest speaker booked for each Dinner. “We’ll have a speaker or two from the tech sector and have some stimulating chat,” she says, “which means it’s a great opportunity to network, as well as share projects and ideas we have that might require some cross-pollination to really get going.”
Big plans for Bath Girl Geeks
Bath Girl Geeks used to run regularly in Bath and was popular with its female tech community. Marianne hopes to get the community back up and thriving once again, as she explains: “Because Bath Girls Geeks has been on the back burner for a while, it really feels like we can do anything.
“We would like to attract some geeky women outside of ‘pure’ tech too”
Marianne became aware of the opportunity to re-launch Bath Girl Geeks when she attended TEDxBristol in November. “I am very much being supported by my organisation, Dorothy House Hospice Care, who are very keen on using innovation and technology in healthcare and championing women to achieve in medicine and STEM. Without them, I wouldn’t have gone to TEDxBristol and I wouldn’t have become part of Bath Girl Geeks!
“Bath has some fantastic tech companies and there have been some really good, local events for women over the last few years.
“Once our numbers have expanded, we hope to find sponsorship from those who know how important it is to increase diversity in the STEM fields and who want women to be successful contributors to innovation in the Bath area.
“We would like to attract some geeky women outside of ‘pure’ tech too, such as graphic designers, writers and artists who are interested in tech but who might feel nervous about using it.”
The original Girl Geek
Girl Geek Dinners was set up by Sarah Lamb, the original Girl Geek. Sarah found herself frustrated about being one of the only females attending technical events. “She was tired of being assumed to be marketing, tired of constantly having to prove herself and decided that she just wanted a change and to be treated just the same as any other geek out there, gender and age aside,” explains Marianne.
“The long-term vision of these events is to bring Geek Dinners into schools, colleges and universities around the world”
Sarah’s idea was to get Girl Geeks together to educate one another over dinner. The first event had 35 people at it, all from London and the surrounding area. Shortly after people started to hear about the initiative, companies started sponsoring them – offering to cover the food and drinks cost. After that, Girl Geek Dinners started popping up all over the UK, Europe and even Canada.
“The long-term vision of these events is to bring Geek Dinners into schools, colleges and universities around the world,” Marianne tells us. “We want to encourage people to embrace their passion for something like technology and to explore what they can do with it.”
Join Bath Girl Geeks at its first event of the year on 8 March at The Raven in Bath. If you have any questions or suggestions, or you’d like to share a group or event with Bath Girl Geeks, drop Marianne an email.
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