Manchester Is Decidedly Undiverse

So last night, more or less on a whim, I popped to the Geekup that was on in Manchester. I was slightly alarmed when I enquired at the bar where the event was and was told there was nothing like that booked for that night ... anyway I wandered outside and found 30 or so people looking likely ... predominantly t-shirted white males standing around slightly awkwardly, with an above-average ratio of laptop rucksacks :)

It was only after an hour or so when I properly looked around me, I realised I was the only woman there. The only one?? You can't tell me there are no female geeks in Manchester, I refuse to believe it! Manchester is one of the most vibrant and happening cities I think I've ever been to in my life. Seriously, what's going on? I can only think that either there really are no female geeks in Manchester, or there are - in which case they're either oblivious to geekup or they're avoiding it.

So, for what its worth I had a perfectly nice time and chatted to some interesting people (thanks guys!) but I would love to know which scenario above is actually the real explanation. If you have a theory then please post a comment!

5 thoughts on “Manchester Is Decidedly Undiverse

  1. So what did you do then just stay @ the same bar or go some where else .. ? And how come the event wasn't actually there, what did the organizers have to say for themselves ?

  2. James: They might be on the list, but they're not hanging around in the real world. I went to the girlgeek dinner event that was held recently and met some very interesting people. I'm not sure GeekUp is reaching this audience however, and I'm starting to wonder whether they are bothered.

    Chloe: I didn't cross-examine the organisers because I was only visiting, apparently they did give a bit of an open-air talk which I missed, but there was no real content and more chat than technical discussion. I'm not sure if this is typical of the event in Manchester though.

  3. Oh, we're bothered. Trust me. I know for me it's a *massive* issue, probably so for Andrew as well, but maybe not seen as so "critical" for Dan (but still an issue). It's been a problem for us across the whole sector in Manchester now for about 6 years.

    It's a massive problem, and one that I call the "fat white boy club thing" (for which I am the poster child). Girl Geek Dinner was meant to address it in part (and worked), but we're open to ideas.

    BarCamp got a good ratio and I know that Leeds gets a good mix, so I know it's possible.

    Part of the school initiative that I started trying to get rolling last year was to increase diversity and it's not just about women but other massively under-represented segments as well - talking to other white, middle class, 18-35 men is all well and good, but I think we can do something more interesting.

    The problem is, we don't know why people are staying away because we can't talk to them to find out!

    Maybe it's one for the list sometime in the next few weeks.

  4. Paul: I'm very pleased to hear that this is considered to be an issue, and I'd agree that there are other directions in which the diversity is lacking but as a white, middle-class, 20-something I'd struggle to offer much insight on any other fronts. I wonder if a non-pub, non-evening or perhaps just better-publicised event might allow more people to meet the group and become involved? I will certainly be joining in anything you do decide on (and I'll be across to geekup again sometime I'm sure!)

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