PyLadies is a global mentorship group that aims to help more females become leaders in the Python open-source community. Their mission is to promote, educate and advance a diverse Python community by using outreach, education, conferences, events and social gatherings.

Brianna Laugher is the organiser of PyLadies Melbourne, which currently has around 150 members. Brianna told #SheHacksNews anyone with an interest in Python is encouraged to participate: they have monthly meetups with at least one speaker who gives a talk following by a casual chat and a Q&A.

“I really wanted to build a community and network for women programming in Python to help lessen the idea of being the only women in a team. It also helps fight ‘imposter syndrome’ that many of us are prone to,” Brianna said.

“Many women in tech deal with ‘imposter syndrome’ which is exasperated by being a minority in a male dominated industry. These communities can be so powerful in giving women the support they need.”

Brianna said setting up PyLadies Melbourne was quite easy due to the existence of an international PyLadies organisation that has a PyLadies kit, offering guidelines.

“The international PyLadies also offers advice for what needs to be done to set up, how to be officially affiliated with them and so on. So that step was quite simple. Starting a group on Meetup is very easy and then a lot of people find out about it by searching online. Our main task was trying to find a venue and now we’re hosted by Thoughtworks, so we’re very grateful for that,” Brianna said.
What was the biggest obstacle in setting up PyLadies Melbourne?

“Finding an ongoing venue was an ongoing struggle. We’re a pretty small group and it’s often easier to find a venue for a larger group because it’s more appealing to people. But we are really happy with how it’s all worked out,” Brianna said.

“Another challenge is keeping motivation up. It’s something needs a little bit of attention frequently, rather than a lot of attention once a month, so it’s just about getting into a rhythm of having updates, lining up the next speakers and having a lot of speakers in the pipeline. These are all challenges but when you do things a bit at a time, it all comes together!”

Brianna advises women to ‘know your power’ and talk to peers you can trust.

“That can help you understand that everybody is struggling with feeling that they’re left behind, or they don’t know enough about something. It’s such a fast-moving industry, so coming to terms with feeling of not knowing everything and learning to cope and live with that is vital to surviving. We all need to accept that we will never know absolutely everything.”

The PyLadies conference is on August 5th, 2017 where you’ll learn to program, build a website and much more!