This coming Saturday Mozilla will be taking part in the Dare2BDigital conference in Mountain View aimed at getting young girls exposed to technology. Lukas Blakk is creating a pretty awesome video workshop that will show off both HTML5 and Universal Subtitles. She’ll be joined by Marcia Knous, William Reynolds and Rainer Cvillink.
I’m pretty bummed I can no longer make it – had to extend a work trip. To make this come together we need another volunteer on-site for the workshop and people to help translate subtitles online (sign up)! If you don’t know about Universal Subtitles you should — it allows people to easily add translations to videos and was recently used to hack Obama’s State of the Union address. It’s a powerful example of how technology can make the Web more participatory and give more people “access” to content online.
So why do I care? It’s not just that I am a woman, but I’m still struck by how few women there are in Open Source and in technology overall. A recent NYT story reports that only 15% of Wikipedia’s contributors are women. (Side note: I’ve been meaning to jump into Wikipedia for years and looks like it’s time to stop dragging my feet). It’s more about how fulfilling and stimulating technology has been for me and I’d like to see more women enjoy it.
And, I think about how impressionable I was as a young’un and the influences that shaped me. My elementary school in particular had some incredible programs – Getty Art that ensured extensive arts classes with Bonnie Wallace, a supplementary creative program with Judy Hein (writing, videography and more!) and an amazing library that included a club and extensive readings by Mrs. Rice. This firmly set me on the path of liberal arts, a love for creating things and ultimately, a study in art history.
I often think what would’ve happened if I were more exposed to technology — playing endless rounds of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” doesn’t count. Although it did spur an obsession with travel and hats. I don’t think it’s too late for me…there is a hacker lurking somewhere inside. The constant exposure to all the amazing creation that goes on the Web could change this yet.
If you have a little time this weekend please help make a hacker and show girls how awesome the Web is — especially if you’re multilingual! Sign up here.