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Event touts D.C. women in tech

Shutterstock image (by Spectrum Studio): Washington, D.C. skyline.

(Image: Spectrum Studio / Shutterstock)

Anyone walking into Smith Public Trust in Washington, D.C., on the evening of June 10 noticed something immediately: Very, very few dudes.

More than 100 women techies attended "Celebrating DC Women in Technology" in Washington, D.C. tweeting with the hashtag #DCWIT2015. Among the attendees were the founder of a tech firm, members of Tech ladyMafia (a networking group for developers and digital strategists), and a woman switching careers and learning to code.

Instead of listening to panels and speeches, they had a chance to meet other women in the field, network and get recognition for the work they do.

The event stemmed from an article Meredith Fineman, CEO of Finepoint, wrote in May listing 14 outstanding-but-underrecognized D.C. women in tech. The piece was in response to Washingtonian Magazine's list of the 100 most powerful people in tech, which featured no women on the first page and only 27 total.

Fineman was "mystified" no one had spoken up about the disparity in the list, so she decided to make her own.

"There are so many amazing women I know in tech or technological positions that are friends and people I admire, work with, who I've hired, who have hired me, so I just made this list," she said.

The article went viral, and Fineman got hundreds of emails from women in tech wanting to share their stories. She put together the event quickly, finding a sponsor and a venue in just two weeks. The goal was to build a stronger platform for D.C. techies – government and private sector alike -- and to keep the conversation going.

"I had to be a PR person for a group of people that wasn't totally being spoken for, and I think it took someone slightly outside the industry," Fineman said "It was very clear within five seconds of my posting that piece, and within five seconds of my posting the event, that it was something people really wanted and needed."

DC has been ranked as the top city for women in tech, with 37 percent of tech jobs filled by women. Fineman said she hopes to have a similar event next year, but wants to keep it a celebration most of all. "It's such a mired topic. It's just very hard to be a woman in or around technology and sometimes you don't want to talk about how hard it is. … You just want to hang out and have fun."

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:51 PM


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