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Rails Girls South Florida

I’ve been so busy working on the nuts and bolts of organization that I’ve hardly spared a breath to write about what I’ve been up to. Exactly what I’m organizing is Rails Girls South Florida, which will take place in the Miami area in November. It will be awesome!

Rails Girls SFL website

Rails Girls

Rails Girls, in case you don’t already know, is a workshop designed to teach women how to program. The goal is to provide women with the chance to get excited about technology, especially software development, and give them the tools they need to build their own ideas.

My own motivation for organizing Rails Girls is to fight the tendency the software development community has towards building a tall, narrow monoculture and increase the breadth and diversity of the community by bringing in people from the outside who are different in important ways. The community, and therefore the profession, of software development becomes stronger when many different people of many different backgrounds take part in it. Gender diversity is one of the easiest, and most obvious areas in which we can improve our profession as a whole.

Workshop at RubyConf 2013 in Miami Beach

I had the idea to do a Rails Girls workshop just as soon as I saw that RubyConf is taking place in Miami Beach this year. I’ve been an organizer for Rails Girls London since the beginning (a story for another post), so I’m pretty sure I know how to make one happen—it’s really not that complicated, but it does require a fair amount of work and some good organization. I guess that’s why they call it “organizing”.

I then got on the Rails Girls worldwide team mailing list to see if anyone else was organizing anything in South Florida, and I checked the website to see if there had been anything at all in the area. The only thing I found was a request for a workshop in Fort Lauderdale by “Cristina”, who sadly forgot to include her contact information when she made the request. However, I also saw that newly-minted Ruby Hero Terence Lee was going to be in South Florida and was interested in helping with the workshop. I also wrote to Terence to see if he was still interested in helping organize a workshop—he was.

I then got in touch with Ruby Central, who organize RubyConf, and asked for their blessing. Abigail Phoenix was tremendously helpful and put me in contact with the confereence venue to see if we could find some space for the workshop. She also offered to help promote the workshop via RubyConf’s social media.

Our Rails Girls workshop is timed to happen just ahead of RubyConf 2013 so that we can take advantage of the pool of potential coaches that will flock to South Florida for the conference. I suspect attendence will be excellent, even for RubyConf’s high standards, thanks in part to the attraction of South Florida’s tropical climate.

Last weekend, I got the web site up and running, but it wasn’t pretty, so this weekend I installed atheme and modified it, making sure the typography is tolerable. There’s still some work to go, but by and large, the site looks really good.

I’m using nice fonts from typography.com, which my New Bamboo colleague Dan Barber turned me on to just last week. We’re both typography lovers.

When the time comes, we’ll also get the Rails Girls application up and running. It was written by the organization team of Rails Girls London, primarily Despo Pentara, and is a very useful tool for putting together events and taking applications. You can see it in action on the Rails Girls London site.

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