Speedy Friendships–TechGirls spend an afternoon with Girls Who Code

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During a short but fruitful hour in Manhattan, the TechGirls had the opportunity to get to know the young women of the IAC Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, hosted inside of IAC’s NYC offices. The group of sixty participants moved around the room in a get-to-know-you activity based on a speed dating model, allowing each group of girls time to find out the basics about each other—investigating the intersections and variations of their technological interests.

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Though the girls had only just met, their conversations were full of comfort and ease. The energy in the room was palpable; from the expressive language being used to the twinkles in the girls’ eyes. They spoke with their hands over their hearts and gesticulated up a storm.

Many young women interested in technology often find themselves to be the sole female in the technology classroom.

“None of my girl friends like technology,” said Nagham Joudeh of Palestine, “I’m the only one.”

This room was full of “only ones” from all over the world—some visiting for just a few weeks, like the TechGirls, some whose families recently immigrated to the US, and others who have been living in New York City for many generations. A room full of sixty young women interested in technology and coding is a powerful thing! Imagine if these young ladies created the next Facebook or Google! What would it look like? How will they use their newfound tech skills and friendships? While each young woman faces her own unique set of challenges and advantages, coming from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, exposure to peers with similar interests alongside technical training can be a powerful catalyst.

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As the hour came to a close, the girls hugged each other goodbye, shared their contact information in a sleek online spreadsheet and headed their respective ways.

“We didn’t want to leave!” the TechGirls said as they clambered onboard the bus once more.

“Why not?” we asked.

“We liked them!”

“Why?” we asked.

“Because they were like us. I felt like I had known the girls that I talked to for a very long time,” said Yemeni TechGirl Lamis Al-Haimi.

Becoming aware that one is part of a community of female technologists rather than singular beings working alone is huge—it reminds us that we have a whole virtual network of peers to reach out to (whether they live nations or boroughs away!).

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