Opinion

FemaleDev: Empowering Young Female Leaders in Technology

Kartini, an Indonesian heroine and defender of women’s rights long ago stated in her published letters ‘From Darkness Through Light’ in 1911:

“I have been longing to make the acquaintance of a ‘modern girl,’ that proud, independent girl who has all my sympathy! She who, happy and self-reliant, lightly and alertly steps her way through life, full of enthusiasm and warm feelings; working not only for her own well-being and happiness, but for the greater good of humanity as a whole.”

But after 100 years, nothing much changed. In Indonesia, a deep-rooted cultural belief stated that the female have birthright to take domestic role: as a wife, a daughter, a mother. It is an anomaly for female to take any leadership role, to demand equality in both family and career wise. It is not uncommon to see bright, talented female to be married at a very young age, just because her family told her to do so.

Since female has always been seen as a subordinate to male, and rarely as an equivalent partner, this has led to many complicated issues such as the lack of representation of female as leaders, as creators, as decision makers.

And sadly, it has only changed slightly even after a century.

Although many have seem to be aware of the problem, not many are willing to actually solve and do something about it.

FemaleDev steps in as a platform that aim to flourish the next generation of female leaders in technology. By organizing programming workshops, seminar, and sharing sessions for female only, FemaleDev empowers them to learn and create something that is not only good for themselves, but also for others.

Started in Jakarta on February 2013, it was not without any hardship. Many people had given belittling feedbacks:

“There’s no such thing as female developers, you will only meet IT graduates with no passion in programming.”

“Programming is for guys, not girls, a girl will never be able to code as well as a guy.”

Even with those underestimating responses, FemaleDev keeps on going. The first workshop on HTML5 was attended by 23 females. The four-hour workshop gained outstanding feedbacks, a lot of them were asking for more classes.

“This is the first time I feel like I’m not alone in this world. I thought there was no other female developers like me.”

“I always feel afraid of attending tech events. There were always guys and no girls. This is why I feel comfortable attending FemaleDev, where I know there will be other girls with the same interest as me.”

“I don’t even have any programming background, but I am willing to come and learn, because I know I can meet new friends and learn new things.”

Since then, FemaleDev has grown into 9 cities, organizing more than 20 hands-on workshops with total of more than 700 registered participants up to date. The topics included HTML5, AngularJS, and Google Maps API delivered by 10 local mentors.

Along the way, FemaleDev has met many brilliant females who can code for good purpose. Young females with big dreams to make a better Indonesia through technology. They can make changes, and inspire more females to build things for the greater good. These females deserve spotlights, a stage to showcase them as a source of inspirations to another female, whether they are into programming or not.

We hand-picked ten talented females with different background, but has the same passion: technology. They represent ten characteristics that every striving female needs to have to be successful: responsible, risk-taking, eager to learn, optimistic, creative, sociable, competitive, persistent, entrepreneurial, and communicative.

Vina, a FemaleDev from Jogja who is now a student at Universitas Gadjah Mada, has built LexiPal, an app to help the learning process of dyslexic children. Ika Pretty Siregar, also another student has built AuFaithMath, an app that helps children to learn and love mathematics.

And they are only the tip of the iceberg.

The other FemaleDev win hackathons, build award winning applications, try to make changes in the world, one code at a time. Each of every one of them has talents and they are capable of spreading their passion and positivity to more young female in Indonesia, and probably to all female around the world.

FemaleDev believe Indonesian females need more heroes, and the best hero they should look up to is from among their own peer. In the near future, Indonesia will have more female leaders and heroes, starting from our FemaleDev movement, starting from this eBook. Enjoy the read!