This year’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

This was my 6th year presenting at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. You can see my poster here. And me presenting it:

Photo credit: Katy Dickinson

As always, it was one of my favorite events of the year. I was surrounded by thousands of geeky women. I got to see my friends who I see every conference, though there were more I missed than usual because I was only at the conference for the first 2 days.

More than the presentations, more than the keynotes and the swagilicious booths, my favorite thing about the conference this year was the dance (though the Google Glass presentation was amazing and I have so many new ideas for wearable computing projects). For a bit of history, here’s my post on the dance 3 years ago.

I wasn’t a big fan of dances in high school. The music was too loud, the social rules too weird. But at this dance, there’s no grinding, no unbearably-awkward-slow-dances where everyone sort of pairs up. Just a bunch of women, having fun, being silly, being awesome. Attendees showed off their classical dance training (both Indian Classical and ballet), their cute dresses and their jeans, and women of all ages rocked out.

It is a feeling of community, built not just on gender but shared experiences. No one got excluded from those dance circles that form in every dance I’ve ever been too. Women pulled strangers into tangos and then let them go, leaving those who wanted to be left alone alone. There was a respect for personal space and also a physical friendliness.

And the music. As you might expect for a conference for women in computing, there were women from India and the Middle East and East Asia and the United States and South America and Europe. And the music reflected that. I was dancing with a group of Google Grantees that included women from Algeria, Israel and women with training in Indian Classical dance and Salsa. We mimicked the women with better moves, and there was no judgement when we failed.

It felt like sisterhood, and I look forward to it next year.

Inspirational Quote:

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T”–Aretha Franklin

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