July, 2017 PyLadies Pune came out of hibernation and rebooted its journey. Let me tell you honestly it has been quite a roller coaster ride since then. We faced a lot of problems but among them the biggest one was lack of participation by women.
For the first month the male female ratio for the meetup was 60% - 40%. I, as an organizer, thought as it is the first meet up women did not show up much. But the ratio of women decreased in the next meet up almost by 30%. I was worried. Where were we going wrong?
Was the content for the meetup not good enough? Or something else? We focused on this “something else”.
People actually didn't know about PyLadies Pune. We started addressing this problem by going to several colleges, IT companies, conferences. This significantly increased the number of of new members joining PyLadies Pune and attending events.
Inspire each other
One thing we were very sure about from the beginning was that it would inspire people to see others learning something new, getting better opportunities (getting better jobs may be). Actually getting better in any way after coming to this meetup. Yes, this aspect is working, with new participants in turn inspiring others to come along.
The big one: Social media
Honestly I am having a hard time getting attendees to appreciate just how important or big social media is these days. Every meet up I allot at least 5 minutes of time to asking them "Please blog, tweet. it's important” And explain them why is it so. In our very 2nd meet up we had a session on Communication skills.
But I realized that only asking attendees to blog will not work. Something should be there which will give the blogs more visibility, and reach a bigger audience. When the number of readers increases and they get good comments, post authors may feel maintaining their blog is a good use of their time. So we created our own Planet PyLadies Pune.
Boosting the confidence of the participants is a major goal for us. We keep lightning talks session in our meetups. In this session girls talk about their work in Python. It gives them a chance to speak in public. As they are talking in front of their friends, it becomes easier for them to talk.
November meetup of PyLadies Pune
The meet up was scheduled after a long diwali vacation on 13th of November, 2016. I reached out early and made all the arrangements required for the meet up. Py was there with me for the meet up. These days even she likes the PyLadies meetups, as this gives her a chance to play all day while Mommy is busy coding.
It was 10:45AM, I freaked out, as my speaker for the day, Sayan, had not yet shown up, and his phone was not working. But to my great relief he came there at 11 PM, bang on time.
Suddenly I noticed something that brought a big smile on my face. There were 12 women present at the meet up. More women than men. Along with our regular participants (more or less 8 women), there were a good number of new faces.
I settled down, Sayan was about to take his session.
If someone intends to work offline, contribute in the open source or in collaborative manner, she must know about git. I got to know about the importance of git, as I was submitting patches. I learned few commands of git. It seemed quite difficult for me. And when I was stuck with an issue, my in house help, husband dear, could not solve it and referred me to Sayan. He made it so clear and easy. Then I thought, “Why not ask him to lead a session on git for PyLadies?” And he readily agreed.
Sayan started his session. He started it with explaining ”What is git?”, “Why is it important?”, and then moved on to terms like : patch, merge, PR(Pull Request) etc. Then he slowly moved into more details and basic commands of git like:
git config --global user.name “username”
git config --global user.email “userEmail”
git commit -m "Commit message"
git push origin master
git remote add origin
git checkout -b
git fetch origin
It was a very nice and useful session for us. With a little bit of disturbance caused by Py, I could attend the whole session.
December PyLadies meetup
Our December meetup witnessed the similar trend as the November meetup, more number of female participants than men. For this meet up, we planned to have a Python 101 session. Trishna was suppose to take the session. But she could not join as she had to stand in the queue in the bank for getting some cash (the demonetization effect). So Kushal took the session. It was a very useful session, specially for the new people in our group, we could revise our Python skills.
Then it was time for a photograph. The photograph of a group, where women are the majority, and yes we do code in Python.