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Girl Geek Dinners Johannesburg

Last week I went along to my first Girl Geek Dinner Johannesburg at The Oak Leaf. I’d heard a bit about them before but wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Girl Geek Dinners was started by Sarah Lamb, a self-confessed geek with a Masters in Computer Science back in 2005 in the UK. Today there are Girl Geek Dinner communities in Canada, Brazil & Italy to name a few. Girl Geeks Dinners is about dislodging stereotypes & highlighting, nurturing & encouraging women in all aspects of technology. I like!



While this month’s event was held at The Oak Leaf, Sandhurst (my 1st time there), the venue changes with each round and the format of the evening is that there are usually 2 speakers over a yummy dinner & in between it all loads of networking & tweeting. I got there early on the night so I could get a good seat close to the front (I’m nerdy like that) & then somehow the day after the event, deleted all the pics of the night (I really don’t know how) so I’ve had to swipe some off the site instead 🙁



 Nozipho Mngomezulu (source)

The 1st speaker was Nozipho Mngomezulu,  a Partner at Webber Wentzel & when I saw the topic she was going to be speaking about – Social Media and the Law I knew it was going to be interesting. Nozipho took us through interesting cases that has made our headlines locally where social media has come under scrutiny. She also spoke about social media in terms of the employment contract & summed it up well when she said that in a nutshell “you have a duty to act in good faith (to your employer) both in real life & online”. i.e. if you have the words “tweets are my own” like so many people do in their Twitter bio it actually means absolutely nothing! She also covered issues around privacy, defamation & other legal considerations when it comes to social media. Without exaggeration I could have listened to her all night…


Rachel Laycock (source)

Rachel Laycock , a lead software consultant at ThoughtWorks & originally from the UK was our 2nd speaker of the night. She shared quite freely about why she chose to be in tech & her experiences in this old boys club climbing the corporate ladder.

Some interesting numbers she shared about women in IT (worldwide):

  • In 1980, women made up 37% of the IT workforce
  • In 2013, its 25%
  • Yet, women dominate in social media by 55%

Taking a closer look at things at home. In SA:

  • In 2013, women make up 20% IT of the workforce (below the worldwide average, as expected)
  • 1% of IT managers are women
  • 1% are Black

While I did expect it to be low, I couldn’t believe just how low some of those numbers were and  I was especially saddened that we’d regressed in some areas. On the upside it also reminded me in part of why I started this tech column on Wiscellaneous. We also left with a cute goodie bag plus I got to learn exactly what a Rasberry Pi is 🙂

Girl Geek Dinners Johannesburg will be taking a short break as the local organiser & founder Leigh-Anne Fowle (thanks for inviting me!) is having a baby soon-ish & will be back in August. Tickets are well worth it at R170. If you’re in Cape Town, be sure to check out Girl Geek Dinners Cape Town to stay up to date about their events too!

Have a fab week you guys!


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