On the evening of 15 September 2015, the first official StripeGirls meetup was held at SilverStripe headquarters.
“What is StripeGirls?”, you may ask. This is a group formed by SilverStripe women for women who are interested in PHP and SilverStripe. Our aim is to learn tech, upskilling and having fun.
The idea of StripeGirls was born when SilverStripe Development Manager CJ wanted to have something like Rail Girls, but SilverStripe related. She said "Hey, you want to help me?" and I said "sure" ... and here we are. It doesn't take a lot of effort to power great ideas - though when we win a Nobel prize or somebody wants to do a movie about us, we wil have to adapt this origin story a little bit.
After a month of waiting, planning and anxiously refreshing the Meetup website to see if the number of StripeGirls grew, the date arrived. 10 girls attended the first meeting. The skill level in the room ranged from beginners to Mjölnir wielders, which meant we could put into play a lot of good upskilling practices, like peer programming and mentoring. Tech knowledge involved a wide range of things: agile development, coding, hosting, best practices, etc. We wanted to cover it all, so there would be a lot of future meetups to plan.
However, we had to delay our most ambitious plans to do some managing tasks first, like figuring out what we wanted from the meetup and what our goals were going to be. Our Programme Director Diana facilitated the first meeting, so of course we used a lot of post-its, sharpies, and wine. That's how you do things the Agile way.
We discussed our individual goal (“tell me what you really really want”). Everybody was there to learn, but also to have fun. An all-girls meetup was the perfect place to learn at our own pace. Since we decided we wanted to learn everything, the facilitators for the meeting had to adapt the schedule, depending on the subjects under discussion at different times.
The way that we learn (and this might be true for a lot of people) is to work under pressure, and to have challenges. Since we started from scratch, a good challenge for us was to build our own StripeGirls website. It was a good way to cover everything, from hosting to implementing extensions in Silverstripe.
So we decided that we would start small, learning about the Agile mindset, “what a database is”, and how to use version control. I could envision a lot of meetups in our future, and slowly building ourselves a new website where we could screw up, experiment and have fun.
We shared pizzas and drinks, and over an hour of friendly banter, we agreed that the best goal for our recently formed StripeGirls group was to take over the world. "Get rich" was a close second. I think we can do both, we are good at multitasking.
Our ultimate objective is to empower women worldwide through tech, by creating a community of do-ers. We now have 29 members and counting.
So, ladies (and gentlemen), get your shurikens sharpened, your ninja outfit ready, and your superhero cape adjusted, it's only a matter of time before we rule the world.
Every 3 weeks, at SilverStripe, there is a girls’ night.
Our next meetup is on Tuesday 6 October, so sign up for free via our Meetup page.