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data+women May 2016

After a month and half, we had our first data+women meetup on Thursday (YAY!). Thank you to those in the Tableau community who came in to share their support (and Andy for helping us coordinate the room and pizza). Sophie kicked off the panel discussion and hopefully the conversations would be a conduit for us to build a community of shared experiences.

Into the future, I’d like for us members to share their hobby work in data analysis. For the next session, I’m hoping Damiana and I will be able to do a demo on how to work with unstructured machine data with Tableau. Its mostly because this is REALLY cool and I think there are people who might be interested!

During the panel discussion, one of the shared experiences we mentioned was how women suffer greatly from Imposter Syndrome. It came up when Andy noticed that the women he’s interviewed for the Data School have a tendency to ask less questions during this process. Emma Whyte told us about how she felt she “almost talked her way out of a job” with The Information Lab. My first blog post with the Data School was exactly this in action. The great thing is that Andy has also noticed that while there might be this confidence gap in the beginning, they also leave the school with the greatest confidence too.

This comment was also brought up as well …

“Why are we talking about this anyways? Men also have moments of unertainty in how our work will be received”

Its a great point as no one can be confident 100% of the time. Also this dialogue about women and confidence can sometimes come across a bit overplayed- everyone’s a bit bored of this story.

I’ve given this a lot of thought and to me, this might be less about how unique the confidence gap might be to women but rather its interesting how it seems to persist cross culturally (the data school has recruited folks from all over the EU and 2 from Canada) and even at multiple levels of leadership and talent. From that, surely a network of encouragement could be helpful and data+women could be our small contribution.

I highly recommend reading this article about a coder at Pinterest who was almost dissuaded from a career in software engineering. Her story is striking because of her incredible CV“WTH? How could she feel this way?”. Despite her full advantages, she recalls her first semester at Stanford and how her confidence was shaken upon hearing classmates groan at how easy the assignments were– the same assignments that took her 15 hours to complete (what jerks were her classmates right?). I’m hoping that by having an active community, we can ALL tap into that support.

Andy also did an excellent job showcasing how Makeover Monday has analyzed various women’s issues such as How Much Do Women Work Globally (this week’s Makeover Monday), Literacy Rates between Genders, Women Underrepresented on Tech Boards, and Roles in Government.

The one below is probably one of my favorite from Andy. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but the highlight table on the bottom still provides a quick and easy way to analyze all the states equally and then for us to understand how these measures are distributed geographically.

Overall, I’m really happy that we were able to hold the event and start to build momentum. We all gotta start somewhere 🙂