Thankfully, it seems that the days of the male-dominated tech scene are behind us. Leading ladies like Google’s Marissa Mayer, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and even Yahoo’s Carol Bartz are a few names that often make the spotlight and somewhat balance the scorecard. And in France, the spotlight perhaps doesn’t get any brighter than that of the Minister of Digital Economy, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet. So it’s hardly surprising that numerous groups are popping up to support and encourage women in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology – including Silicon Valley-based Girls in Tech, which will make its debut in Paris at the end of the month.
The Girls in Tech network was founded in San Francisco in 2007 by Adriana Gascoigne, who is currently the VP of Marketing for SecondMarket. Girls in Tech strives to encourage and promote the advancement of women in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology through various networking events and functions. With over 7,000 current members, the group has local branches in a number of foreign countries including Greece, India, China, the UAE and now France – which is the second European country to be part of the network after Greece. Looks like Girls in Tech is turning out to be a real global movement!
Yet, the idea of uniting women in technology is hardly a new initiative for France. For example, Girlz in Web is a local community for women in the web space, that hosts a number of girl-only networking events. Also, Paris Girl Geek Dinners – which is the French branch of a London-based organization – has also held numerous successful events, where women gather around a meal and talk tech.
But contrary to what one would’ve thought, Girls in Tech Paris is NOT no boys allowed – in fact, the group encourages male participation in order to present the female success stories that may not be as visible at other tech events. So not to worry, this is pretty much the opposite of a girls-only event to talk about fashion and babies; the idea is to unite the crème de la crème of local women in tech to highlight their acheivements, experiences and thoughts on today’s trends.
So the first Girls in Tech Paris event is set to feature three very impressive ladies with incredibly different backgrounds: Amélie Faure, a serial entrepreneur currently working with French start-ups Bonitasoft, Augure and QuelleEnergie; Eliane Fiolet, the San Francisco-based founder of leading gadget-blog Ubergizmo, and Céline Lazorthes, the young founder of French start-up Leetchi.
The event attracted a surprising amount of attention and tickets actually event sold-out in under a week. However, thanks to sponsors Microsoft Bizspark, Usineadesign, Spotify and FaberNovel, additional tickets will soon go on sale. Still, space is incredibly limited so to anyone interested in attending, be sure to keep an eye out.
PS: I am one of the co-organizers of Girls in Tech Paris, along with Mounia Rkha of French VC firm Ventech.