We got in touch with Girls In Tech recently, as we realised not many women follow a tech-based career. If you look into a “computer” or “tech” based scene, in any field, the ratio of men to women is extremely high. That’s when I was curious – why don’t many women pursue this career path? Is it because it is a male-dominated industry?
Therefore I bring to you a candid interview with Adriana Gascoigne, the founder of Girls In Tech – an organisation which revolves around women who had the courage to choose this career path and excel in it themselves.
Our readers are curious to know – Who is Adriana Gascoigne?
Adriana Gascoigne is the Founder and CEO of Girls in Tech, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization devoted to empowering, educating and mentoring women in the tech industry internationally. She is also a partner at Founders Den in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district where Girls in Tech’s offices are located.
No stranger to growing brands and building amazing companies, Adriana has also served in executive roles at RxMatch and QwikCart, Ogilvy & Mather and SecondMarket, the largest secondary trading platform, where she was responsible for branding strategy, event production and digital media efforts.
In addition to working with technology start-ups like Indiegogo, SGN, Algentis, Democracy.com, Swyft, ImpulseFlyer and GUBA, Adriana has served as a strategic advisor for companies like NexTravel, StartupStockExchange, Numiyo Technologies, Palindrome Advisors, CharityBlossom, DooChoo, and Change.org. She is also on the advisory boards for Nailbot, Cocoon Cam and Roost.
What is Girls In Tech (GIT)?
Girls in Tech was founded in 2007 in San Francisco with the goal of eradicating gender inequality in tech. Today Girls in Tech has 60 chapters around the world with more than 50,000 members. Girls in Tech puts on programmes to support women in tech and help keep them in their careers. We do this through networking events, speaker panels, boot camp events where women can learn skills like coding, startup basics, confidence, negotiation. We also put on annual conferences, hackathons and mentorship programmes. Girls in Tech is operated largely on a grass-roots level: we have a small corporate team and each chapter is managed by a volunteer managing director, and a team of volunteers at the local level.
Why do you think not many women follow or make a career in the Tech scene?
Women fall out of the tech scene in mass numbers, despite interest, and it’s often a lack of inclusion. They have a hard time seeing themselves in that role and having a career in tech when they enter an engineering classroom and they may be the only female in the room. Many women lack the support and mentors/sponsors needed to lift them up in their career and give them the support system they need to keep going. There’s also our subconscious biases that we all have. For example, when men are tough negotiators or loud or opinionated, it’s often perceived as okay because so many of us expect men to be that way. When a woman speaks up in a conference room, she’s often called bossy.
What challenges did you face in such a male-dominated industry?
The startups I worked at were definitely oozing with “bro-grammer” culture. The guys there made rude jokes, I was passed up for promotions. Overall, it just wasn’t a friendly, inclusive environment. It’s hard to last in an environment like that for a long time. It’s hard to really see a career with a company that operates at those levels.
How did you conquer those moments of doubt that so often stifles or trips so many entrepreneurs with great ideas… What pushed you through?
For me, I think it’s just putting one foot in front of the other. Girls in Tech started with a single event. It’s doing one thing at a time. I didn’t fixate on how many chapters I needed to have or a five-year plan when we first launched. I just took it one week at a time. I think a lot of entrepreneurs can overthink things; they can get analysis paralysis. The best way to get over fear is to just dive right in.
Would you want to give a shout out to our readers on why they should believe in their dreams and run towards achieving it, like you did?
It’s easy to be afraid, but you don’t want to have regrets. Ask yourself, will you regret not trying to achieve whatever it is that you want to be achieve? If the answer is yes, then you owe it to yourself to try to do it, whatever it may be. It’s about being honest with yourself.
I would like to thank Adriana for taking out time and answering these questions, once again. Hope you girls are inspired by this wonderful woman, who took a strong stand in such a male-dominated industry.