DC has a vibrant entrepreneurial and information technology scene. It therefore comes as no surprise that the DC Tech meetups have been drawing as many as six hundred attendees at every get together. Not only good networking opportunities – these events are almost like job fairs/conferences – where fellow DC-techies learn about funding, small businesses, start ups, and what companies are hiring. The audience is very often more than 75% male.

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the last two meetups (both involving over 500 other techies at the 6th & I Historic Synagogue) and have consistently been impressed and inspired by the things going on in this city. However  – I’m also a woman who understands what its like to be a minority in this business.  Are there times when I’m the only female in a web development meeting? Yes. Am I aware that my fellow sisters in this field are very much in the same boat? Absolutely.

Sure enough – the DCTech Meetup # 2 didn’t involve a single female as either a speaker or panel member. After a flurry of tweets asking for that to change – organized Peter Corbett declared Meetup #3 the ‘All-Female’ meetup. TechCocktail’s Jen Consalvo moderated a panel of women who are all changing the DC tech scene- one startup company at a time. However, the entire event felt like a glorified diversity day; wherein a gender that makes up 50% of the world’s population was being singled out because they were a minority in tech. Subsequently, may of the panel discussions focused on “what it was like to be a woman and ask for VC funding” and whether or not being pregnant was bad for running a tech company. While I’m not saying those are unimportant topics, I think the discussion should have centered more on the companies and tools that the women were developing. Would a man on a panel ever get asked: “How do you feel about being a man working in Tech”? 

Regardless – the meetup was a raging success and I walked away once again feeling energized and inspired by the community.

The companies and technology that were presented are:

Demo 1 – Marci Harris, CEO, PopVox

Demo 2 – Lisa Morales-Hellebo, CEO, Shop Suey

Demo 3 – Phyllis Klein, Founder, Fab Lab DC

Demo 4 – Jennifer O'Keefe, VP – Product, Personal

Demo 5 – Geraldine Le Roux, Marketing Manager, HelloWallet

Demo 6 – Jessy Kate Schingler, Developer

(photo credit Jimmie Gardiner via @dctechmeetup 's twitter stream)

Interested in coming to a DCTech meetup ? They are held on the first Tuesday of every month – check out their meetup page for more information.