Roundup: Python Outreach Workshops for Women

4587694386_ec7df8cdd5_z.jpg

By Karen Zeller (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0) Spring was a busy time for new initiatives introducing women to programming languages and frameworks.

Inspired by workshops and outreach efforts being made in other programming languages and web development technologies, such as Ruby and Ruby on Rails, these three Python workshops took place in May with their organizers planning more this the summer.

Python Programming Workshops for Women PyLadies, a women’s Python developer club and advocacy group, held a beginners’ workshop on May 15, 2011 at Los Angeles public radio station KPCC.

The event’s organizers, seven women from the local Python meetups including Esther Nam, Christine Cheung, and Audrey Roy, worked equally hard to put together materials and recruit attendees. The workshop was unique in that 34 out of 37 instructors and participants were female. At the end, seven lightning talks about Python were given, entirely by women.

In June, PyLadies held a Python hackathon with 55 participants in Hollywood and 30 attending remotely from as far as Poland. Attendees who open-sourced their code or submitted patches to FOSS projects received t-shirts. Visit PyLadies for more info.

Boston Python Meetup organizers Jessica McKellar and Asheesh Laroia held the second in series of workshop introducing Python programming to women. The organizers hope to reach more women and also inspire other groups to run their own introductory workshops with an eye to diversity and outreach.

Due in part to these recent outreach events, the Boston Python Meetup has grown over 300 members to over a thousand. The upcoming workshop scheduled for July has just booked full within hours of its announcement.

An attendee from May’s workshop gushed, “This weekend's project-driven Python workshop was phenomenal! The rockstar instructors/staff were skilled programmers and great teachers.” Hubspot served at the gracious host and sponsor. Visit Boston Python Workshop for more info.

Bay Area PyStar organizer Lukas Blakk held a May outreach in Mountain View. To make life easier for beginners, the curriculum and install were designed so content could also be followed easily online.

Workshop attendee Carmen Diaz Echauri noted, “It was great and very well organized; it gave me a good idea of what I want to do with the technology and people were very nice.”

Lukas and active PyStar organizer Amanda Nyren noted there are a variety of workshops being organized and initiated by PyStar volunteers across the U.S. and globally. In June, regional PyStar groups held events in Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Paris.

Bay Area PyStars is planning another event in San Francisco for August. Visit PyStar for more info.

Editor's note: PyLadies is offering coaching for speaker proposals to this year's DjangoCon. About the guest blogger: Karen Zeller is software professional, holding progressively responsible positions in technical communications, program and product management. Most recently she has been working in a 75% legal and administrative position at Stanford while raising a young child. She volunteers for non-profits including RailsBridge and Women 2.0. Karen holds degrees in Anthropology and Finance from UC Berkeley and a J.D. from Stanford University School of Law. Follow her on Twitter at @karenzeller8.