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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 🙂

5 thoughts to “data+women May 2016”

  1. Hi Emily

    Congratulations on your first data+women event! It’s fantastic to see that you managed to get an almost even mix of women and men attending. Super important to have the guys come along to support and learn about some of the challenges that occur, and build out a network that will build the confidence of both men and women in the industry.

    Particularly interesting was the comment: "Why are we talking about this anyways? Men also have moments of uncertainty in how our work will be received" – why did it pique my curiosity?! Simply, while men may not “feel” confident, they actually “project” confidence.

    A few questions spring to mind:
    Why do women feel that they need to satisfy 100% of a role’s requirements to apply, when a men feels he only needs 60%?
    How many women were told when they were growing that they were bossy? Compare that with how many men were told they were bossy.

    Love the thought provoking wrap-up! Really hope that you will be able to run another event while I’m over in London next month. I’m keen to get involved and lend my support!

    xo VizChic

    1. Hello! Yes we were quite lucky to get a good mix that night. I’m hoping we will continue to have this the next time around. It will take a bit of thinking around the marketing to make sure it doesn’t become too one sided as these things can easily become.

      I quite like your phrasing in "projecting confidence".

      Let us know when you’ll be in London. We haven’t set a date so this might help us keep on track to have our next meetup.

      1. Yes, I know it can be tricky positioning it sometimes, with the whole "women" bit in the title of the event. Although once i start chatting with the guys about some of the stories I’ve heard from other women, as well as my own, they seem to get it, actually most felt uncomfortable about it. That said, listening to the Wanna Be Podcast, people still struggle with our support for more Women as Zen masters, or on the Board of Directors. Maybe it’s to do with the fact no one believes that they have biases (it’s always someone else that has them) – but that’s unconscious bias for you!

        I’ll be over for Tableau Conference from 12th-17th June – I really hope we can do something then!

  2. Nice write-up Emily. I get the comments about the confidence gap/imposter syndrome (and data+women initiatives for that matter) might seem overplayed or like the latest pop song on the radio, people are tired of listening to it. From my perspective, I’ve heard more about imposter syndrome & confidence gap in just a few months…maybe with how connected we are, it seems like a large, long discussion. That’s a challenge. We want to raise awareness so that people (women in this case) realize that others feel this way and then move onward and upward. My personal feeling is that we will have some kind of thread that will be boring to some because perhaps they’re not directly impacted. Or until it’s not such a big damn deal for women to have equality (or even near equality) in data/tech/STEM jobs.

    I wish I could have attended as the women to men ratio was unique (I think), which may have colored the commentary. I think it’s great that men attended…we need them as ambassadors for the folks who aren’t as enlightened and to help encourage/sponsor/mentor women to hp us demonstrate the requisite skills to obtain the job or pay. And I think that’s what we all want (or maybe just me)…given the opportunity, women demonstrate and the decision-makers recognize these skills to have more equality in resourcing, leadership, and pay.

  3. Hi Emily – sounds like I missed a good event. I can really relate to this topic. I only found out about the event a few days before and struggle to make arrangements for the family with that notice. I’ll be at the conference in June so it would be cool if something could be arranged(otherwise perhaps we can both hook up with VizChic anyway). Is there any specific group I need to be a member of to ensure I get visibility of meet-ups?

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