On Friday morning I headed over to The Old Market in Hove for the Women In Media conference. I have to admit I really wasn't sure what I was attending, or who the conference was aimed at before I turned up, and to be honest, I left still wondering. I think my biggest problem was the whole "Women in" bit to be honest. I'm now a development team leader (i.e. moving into management), but have worked in the software development area for 15 year. In that time I've come across the odd issue because of being female, but not necessarily more than for being a northerner, or a Hull City fan or whatever so I've never really identified my femaleness as being an issue in the workplace.The event started with a keynote from Linde Wolters of TheNextWomen which touched on the percentages of women in various areas of the media industry. She also identified some reasons as to why these percentages weren't higher, touching on geek culture and tribalism and competition. All in all a pretty good keynote with areas to think about - where are the guiding lights? where are the female role models?The next talk was a panel discussion about Women on the Web. This was chaired by Jenni Lloyd of Nixon McInnes and consisted of Denise Wilton from moo.com, Sophie Major from Yahoo! Developer Network and Rosie Freshwater from Leapfrogg. The panel all had a 5 minute or so slot each to explain who they were, and what they did before answering questions from the floor. One of the things that was common across all these ladies, or is it women, I can never quite work that one out, is passion. These were all inspirational people, with inspirational messages. They have followed different paths, none of them having started out in the direction in which they ended up, and all of them seemed to have taken different opportunities as they have arisen (which is a great relief to me as that is effectively what I've done too). Ok, so I know that I love the web, its what I changed my focus to in about 1999 so am bound to be inspired here, but I genuinely believe that it would have been hard to leave that session without being inspired.I didn't get on with the next panel discussion, about Women In Games, as well at all. Maybe it's because I don't understand the unique pressures of the games industry, maybe it's because I don't see myself as a victim, but I found the panel discussion somewhat irrelevant and a complete contrast to the previous session - I don't even have any notes on this which is really, really unusual for me - I make notes about everything...There was then a break for lunch, and after having had a see-saw morning, I decided not to go back in the afternoon. Overall, I left still not being sure who the conference was aimed at, but still feeling inspired by what the Women on the Web had to say. Would I attend this conference again? Possibly with the intention of learning from the people in my area, the people who I have something in common, but I probably wouldn't hang around for the other talks.
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