2021: year in review

By now, most of us have learned that ever since Covid-19 has struck down it can get more difficult to follow your plans. Some unfortunately didn't come to fruition, but hey that's ok! We organised a lot less events than originally planned, but the ones that occured were pretty amazing!

The biggest events of 2021

The past year we had 2 online TechTalks and one in person event, which was also our first crossover event since our previous one had to be cancelled the year before. You can read about the takeaways from our two online techtalks here on the blog.

Crossover event: How to level up as a developer

On a Thursday in November, we gathered in Mechelen for a pleasant and educational evening together with Clusity, an organisation within Cronos focussing on inclusion and women in tech.

Together with Clusity we planned an evening with guest speakers, followed by a panel discussion, both with dev career advancement as its central theme.

Ksenia Karelskaya talked about dealing with Impostor syndrome, followed by Laila Deeb who shared her experience of how she steered her career.

After a short break, the panel discussion moderated by Rein and Eva took off. Participants were our 2 guest speakers Ksenia and Laila and Cronosieten Aagje Reynders, Keshia Niemegeerts and Nadya Essebbar.

The crossover event banner we used to advertise the event

When the panel discussion ended we moved onto some speed date networking organised by Clusity. Which was a pleasant experience, even if you're an introvert like me who mostly feels awkward at such occasions. It didn't feel forced and the atmosphere was really good, which of course, is a big help to make people feel at ease.

The event ended with a bit more free networking time until it got pretty late and everyone was ready to head home.

Portfolio and resume reviews

Earlier this year, we started offering portfolio and resume reviews as a membership benefit and judging by the feedback we received from our members, this has been a very positive experience. The goal of our portfolio and resume reviews is to give our members the confidence and knowledge they need to land better jobs.

These reviews work as follows: a member can request a review and we look for the reviewer that matches best with their focus. For example when the person making the request is focused on a career in data science, they get matched with a reviewer that is experienced in this field or has at least a certain amount of overlap experience.

The focus lies on vocalising on what is already good and what can be improved, as well as why they should consider improving this, so that they always get the full picture.

We know that some of our members already implemented the improvements in their portfolios and resumes and landed a job not long after. 🥳 Needless to say we are thrilled to hear whenever a member lands a good job!

New website and blog

Over the past four years our community has been growing and evolving. It was getting a little overdue to have a proper space dedicated to our members, initiatives and the various types of information we want to share. So we recently launched a new website and blog in order to inspire even more people and to be of better service.

a screenshot of our new design

The new website is not only better in terms of content, but we also made sure this one is even more accessible than the previous one. Thanks for inspiring us with your accessibility tips, Sophie Ragas!

Member Stories

Another upside of the new website and blog, is that we got to renaming our community spotlight interviews into member stories. The newly baptized member stories comes with a dedicated overview page, making it easier to see all the stories that have already been published so far.✨

We're very excited to look back at the kickass women who shared their story with us, each of them an inspiration in their ow way! Who says Belgium doesn't have women in tech role models?!

All the member stories we published this year: Christina Wunder, Siu Mei Soan, Joanna Kochel, Lisa Becker, Marie Hargitt, Anna Gajecka, Imane Benyecif K, Oya Canli, Stefanie Gevaert and Marta Luffarelli

The current state of women in tech in Belgium

As a community who's main focus is to improve the Belgian tech industry for women who code (and other women in tech), I took some time to start digging for facts and stats directly related to the subject.

I learned that:
Today only 17,4% of all people working in IT are women, this while women make up for 46,8% of our nation's workforce. And while the gender pay gap might not be as big in our country in comparison to other countries, women still are't payed equal!

I also learned that some information is really hard to find or rarely updated. For example, I didn't find a single useful statistic regarding how many women enroll and/or graduate in IT-related college and university programs, which specialisations they end up choosing, how many drop out along the way and so on... If someone knows where to find some more recent data regarding this, please point me in the right direction.

With the information I DID find, I thought it was a good idea to create a Belgium-focused women in tech infographic. We can all learn from it and work together on creating more inlusive workspaces and regimes for all people.

A visual preview of our women in tech infographic

Feel free to share it with your network!

Focus points of 2022

We're cautiously making plans for next year, but will probably plan according to the options available as time proceeds.

Blog and member space

In 2022 we'll continue to focus on further improving our member space and blog in order to attract new members and guest bloggers. To attract new members, we mostly need to make sure people know where to find us. Word of mouth has been one of our biggest resources so far, thanks to our members, volunteers, allies and friends. So, if we can keep this up, surely we can grow a little more in the upcoming year.

One option is to expand our reach some more by enlisting the help of voluntary community ambassadors. A community ambassador is a person who connects members of their local community with our community initiatives and activities. Members of our community might already have noticed this on our member infopages. But until now, we weren't actively recruiting.

A new online volunteer infosession is currently in the works will be communicated soon.

Looking for speakers for an online TechTalks event in February!

For our first TechTalks event of the year, we are aiming at the end of February, on a Wednesday or Thursday. If you are available and interested in speaking at this event, please use the form at our speaker-page to contact us.

If you are interested but need a little inspiration or just more info, you can check out our speaker info pages.

Celebrating another year of women.code(be)

Nearly at the end of my recap and finally getting to the thing we are really excited about! Our upcoming 5th year anniversary!!! 5 years of women.code(be), quite a special occasion, which should be celebrated accordingly, don't you think? We're still exploring the options and are open to suggestions. One thing is certain, we'll be needing funds for a proper event, so in order to raise those funds we set up a goal on our ko-fi page.

People interested in making a donation can easily set the amount and wether if it's a one time donation or a recurring one.

Sponsors

For our biggest sponsors we are reserving spots on our new website (coming soon) and in our monthly newsletter. ✨ Starting with our friends over at NG-BE. Every first week of December, they host Belgium's Angular conference and this year they also held their first ngGirls workshop. ngGirls aims to introduce women to the world of technology and increase the diversity.


That's it for now, we are looking forward to another year with all the wonderful people that are connected to us through our community. And we wish you and your families warmth, happiness and good health for the new year!

Hope to see you again in 2022!

Thank you for staying with us till the end of this post! ❤️ If you enjoyed reading this, why not share it with your network?

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