Dublin Feminist Film Festival looks at lack of women and minorities in software engineering

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Dr. Sarah Arnold of Maynooth University writes for Dublin Globe about the need for gender equality in the tech & media industries and her forthcoming lecture at the Dublin Feminist Film Festival…

Like film and television before it, women were pioneers in the early years of computer technology but found themselves increasingly side-lined as burgeoning industries sought professionalisation through masculinisation. That conundrum, as well as the lack of diversity in tech is being explored during this year’s Dublin Feminist Film Festival in The New Theatre, Temple Bar, November, 16-18th 2017.

My main area of interest is in women in film, television and media, particularly in regards to the stake they have in emergent entertainment forms like cinema and television. Women’s work and use of media has been crucial to the development of various forms of screen media. Yet as emergent media are institutionalised and mainstreamed, women’s spaces and voices in both practice and representation are rendered peripheral. My research examines the histories of women in these moments of media transformation.

What will the talk entail?

My talk at this year’s Dublin Feminist Film Festival will trace some of these patterns of exclusion, repression and silencing as they have materialised and persisted throughout the history of film, television and media technologies. It looks to the recent revelations by women of experiences of harassment and assault by those in the media industries and the momentum generated by women’s advocacy and activism to consider how a feminist media future can be formed.

CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap

The talk will be followed by a documentary that highlights some of the issues raised in the lecture. The festival will present a special screening of “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap” by film maker Robin Hauser Reynolds.

The film is an absorbing look at the lack of women and minorities in software engineering. It traces the history of the great female pioneers beginning with Ada Lovelace who wrote the first ever computer algorithm in the 1800’s and examines the contemporary cultural shift that turned the industry in a hostile environment for women.

Given the similar gender imbalance in the Irish tech sector (with less that 25% of women engaged in STEM jobs) this documentary offers insights into how and why this happened as well as the various steps that should be taken to encourage women’s participation in education, workplaces and innovations in the tech industry.

What’s else is on offer at the event? 

The following day, the festival will host a workshop for females aged 13-17 who are interested in film making.  This hands-on workshop for females aged 13-17 includes a taster in camera work using your phone, acting/presenting to camera, storyboarding, video editing, publishing & online safety. Films by and about females are needed and valued more than ever and this workshop will give young women the tools and techniques to produce and share their original and compelling stories.  

Feminist futures are formed today through challenges to and correctives for the media industries, through the speculative works of fiction by female filmmakers, and through the championing of young female talent in media careers. The Dublin Feminist Film Festival is an opportunity to share in and enjoy everybody’s contribution to this.

For more information on the Dublin Feminist Film Festival, click here.

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