As I sat next to my husband of 17 years moaning to me that David Cameron had only appointed the three women he had because they were women, not because they were competent, it made me want to thrust their CVs in his face and maybe down his throat. After 17 years of marriage I still hadn't convinced him that women are just as smart, as capable and as entitled to work in areas of life as men and yet he is married to a competent, capable women. Sadly other men (and some women) seem to feel the same way based on casual eavesdropping during my commute.
In the UK there are 147 women in parliament out of 650 seats giving us around 23% of the parliament being women according to ipu.org. Less than a quarter of people filling a body that is meant to be representative of the people of this nation are women and yet in the 2011 census, there were more women than men in the UK (31mil men against 32.2mil women). Surely promoting 3 women is not the end of the world as we know it, nor necessarily pandering to some agenda. Having looked at their bios on the BBC website I fail to see how these five women are not well suited for the job. I'm sure husband would not have been so vocal about a young man.
As well as a massive gap between women and men in parliament, the wage gap in the UK has come down to 19.7% according to the Equal Pay Portal in 2013. That there is a wage gap is not only lamentable, it should be criminal but it is also difficult to prove. When there is not open discussions of wages, employers will always be able to get away with things. One of the LGGD women who went on to become a helper told me during the annual RegentTweet event that she had realised through the events that she didn't need to settle for the pay she was on and she is now earning significantly more. It's stories like that which make LGGD worth volunteering for.
So what has really changed for women in the last year - especially women in STEM? Not enough and yet things *are* changing.
In the last year we saw respected scientist D N Lee called a whore for not doing free work. For a little context, DNLee was approached by Biology Online to do a monthly blog for them. She is a professional, and while those starting out in their career may often take unpaid gigs to gain exposure, she is a professional with a good following already. Sadly, when DNLee politely declined the offer to do unpaid work for Biology Online, Ofek responded by calling her that name. That is not the way an enlightened society responds to rejection.
On a positive note, Dr Sue Black was honoured with TechMums in the Online Skills and Training category of the Internet Awards. She also met with the queen as part of the UK Technology event and was named the 9th most influential woman in tech by Computer Weekly, won most inspirational woman at the everywoman awards, and helped get Alan Turing pardoned among other things - all in a year for Dr Black.
I also haven't been pitched any pink devices, or indeed any coloured devices. It has been a blissfully pink-is-for-girls-free year in tech for me. That doesn't mean there aren't any, only that they aren't pitching them at people like me.
Also London Girl Geek Dinners had some amazing sponsors who helped us put on some amazing events. The most hotly contested is always RegentTweet, of course Gamesys with their goodie bags for everyone were amazing plus the Trainline had one of the most interesting topics, talking about Agile development. Finally we had our last anniversary event at Yahoo and this year it will be at Expedia which we are super excited about.
So it has been a mixed year since our last birthday. There have been negatives and positives. Hopefully the coming year as we look towards completing our first decade we'll have increasingly good news. If you're a woman (or a man) interested in London Girl Geek Dinners (there's rarely dinner by the way - usually just nibbles) then just visit https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/london-girl-geek-dinners and request to join. We also have Facebook and Twitter communities in addition to LinkedIn.