The way that you change the ratio is by supporting people, and that means creating community groups to do that.
By Leanne Pittsford (Founder & CEO, Start Somewhere)
It seems like every week there’s a new affinity group popping up around women in technology. It’s a great trend, and I hope it continues. Why? Because when you have something in common, you build community. And when there’s community – a tribe, if you will – there’s support. That’s why we’ve founded Lesbians Who Tech, a monthly gathering of women in the queer community in and around tech, chatting over drinks.
Why do affinity groups work?
Because when you have something in common, it creates a connection, and a connection creates trust. When you have two things in common (women + lesbian, for example), you have an even greater connection, allowing you to more easily build a relationship and provide support. The way that you change the ratio is by supporting people, and that means creating community groups to do that.
Specifically: Why Lesbians Who Tech?
To Be More Visible To Each Other
Every lesbian knows that familiar feeling of meeting someone in a work setting, knowing she’s queer, and trying to work it into a conversation and make that connection. Lesbians Who Tech is all about making that happen: connecting lesbians and building a network of colleagues, associates and friends in the industry.
To Be More Visible To Others
Outside of Ellen, Rosie, Melissa, and now Tammy, what other mainstream lesbian role models can most people name? We need more examples of lesbian leaders, and that means we need to come out as the amazing, successful people we are.
To Get More Women and Lesbians in Technology
Lesbians are women first, and right now women are some of the most gifted folks in technology, yet there are far fewer of us than there should be (women account for 1 in 15 people in STEM fields). Because there aren’t enough women, women are rarely quoted as experts by the mainstream media and blogs, on panels, etc. And add in the element of being lesbian, it’s equally important for us to represent women, and out women, for our communities.
Women in the queer community, please join us!
Lesbians Who Tech December Happy Hour is on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 6:30pm at Blackbird.
If you’re interested in having a Lesbians Who Tech event in a city near you, please email Leanne Pittsford at Leanne@start-somewhere.com.
Women 2.0 readers: Which affinity groups do you find most supportive or resourceful to you as an entrepreneur? Let us know in the comments!
Leanne Pittsford is the Founder and CEO of Start Somewhere with a mission to help world-changing nonprofits and social enterprises grow and fund their vision. She is a Board Member of StartOut, an organization building the next generation of LGBT entrepreneurs and co-founder of the Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program. She is an advisor for Solar Network Solutions, a woman-owned solar tech company. Find her on Twitter at @lepitts.