What was supposed to have been a workshop dedicated to introducing code, to a group of forty girls ranging in age from late teens up through mid-fifties actually morphed into an epiphany for me, so to speak. Being coached through the installation of the necessary tools and learning what a text editor is, and that my macbook was even hiding Terminal allowed me to build a functioning web app. It is a very simple note-taking kind of web app, but it is mine and I built it using Ruby on Rails. Coding Epiphany had set my brain on fire. This is good. This is wonderful and I cannot wait to learn more about programming. I was fortunate to have been contacted for one of the last spaces available due to a cancellation. Maintaining my WordPress blog actually piqued my curiosity about code. Since I want to understand why my blog looks the way it does and perhaps add some bells and bows to it, learning at least basic code seemed a logical conclusion.
Here in Luxembourg the government is making an giant effort to get more girls interested in pursuing technical professions. In tune with this thinking, they stepped up to the plate and sponsored this first Rails Girls Workshop in the Grand Duchy. The Prime Minister was planning to address out little group in person, but was held up on business outside of the country. Happily, the workshop was graced by the presence of a senior policy advisor at Luxembourg for Business, Madame Claudine Kariger, who addressed us in the Prime Minister’s name. Such official displays of support of this high caliber sets the tone and direction towards greater support and motivation in this under-developed field. I hope that the word will spread like wild fire,not only within the schools, and not only in the media or on the various social platforms, but also by enthused word of mouth. Girls are just as capable to exercise a technical profession as the boys, but they have to be encouraged and nutured. The government is doing just that. So, gals, don’t be shy about asking questions and feed your curiosity and unleash your creativity.
This message also applies to mature women such as myself who are looking for a new challenge after probably having spent a couple of decades in the same field. From what I saw at the workshop, I am not the only 45 plus interested in educating herself towards higher technical sights, be it in learning code or studying engineering. With the support we can expect from other ladies in our network, the Government and places like The Impactory, I am sure that no limit can be set to what we girls can accomplish. And it is just as important to realize that once we understand in the depths of our heart and when our minds follow suit, we will become, in a manner of speaking, de-programmed of thinking that we can’t succeed in areas traditionally though to be open only to the male population. As I write this post, I feel a bit militant towards this subject. But this is all positive energy, a golden impetus to change and re-evaluation of self.
Scintillating is the word I choose to describe the effect this Rails Girls workshop had on me. I am already enrolled in an evening class for the Fall dedicated to creating web pages with HTML and CSS. Thanks to the invigorating Rails Girls Workshop my motivation knows no bounds. Thanks also to every one involved from the organizers and coaches (guy and gals!) to the lovely ladies with whom I learned Ruby on Rails.