“I think it’s easier to learn with girls,” says Tuuti Piippo who attended the first Rails Girls event last November. “I feel it’s easier to code with other girls, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the context: many of us came up with ideas of girly apps, rather than apps designed for men.”
The Rails Girls event on September 19-20 is not strictly women-only, but men are only accepted if they are accompanying a lady. And women get preference if there is a choice to be made of who gets to attend. This is, after all, an initiative to get women to join coders’ ranks and produce unique web apps.
“Women encounter different problems in their daily lives, so they’re in a good position for finding things that are invisible to men,” Rails Girls founder Karri Saarinen told YLE News.
Piippo outlined an idea for such an app: one that would supply the busy woman with daily recipes that would neatly break down into grocery lists.
No experience required
“It makes women more comfortable to learn these new things when it’s a friendly environment, not a male-dominated one like many workshops and conferences,” explains Saarinen. “It’s like a starting point—the events are basically just for anyone, just beginners without much experience in programming, just experience using computers. We do the rest.”
Last November, when the first event was organised, 25 women attended—most of them in their twenties and thirties, but some also in their fifties. This year, 40 women are planning to attend the Helsinki workshop, and a separate event is planned for Singapore in October.
After the first Rails Girls event, the Finnish organisers received interested calls from other countries, including the US, Britain and France.
Perhaps, soon enough the gender divide in apps programming will fade. Either way, one thing is clear: women can certainly enrich the world of web apps, and they are now encouraging new generations of girls to follow suit.
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