Now this is daring.... talking about Girl Geek Coffees (GGC), and giving a shout out to the people involved in getting it up and running, an those that have kept it that way! After all, if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? At some point you need to put your hand up, perhaps abeit reluctantly, and say "I did this". Otherwise firstly others won't know your good work, which happens to be a thoroughly female trait. And secondly, you lose the opportunity to inspire other people, encouraging them to take the courage within themselves to stand up and let their voice and opinions be counted. Many people may have reasonable ideas, however actions speak louder than words, which is the guts of the problem facing female participation in ICT.

GGC  was launched around Australia & New Zealand  in 2009 as an initiative of the scholars of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship (AU/NZ). The founder is Miriam Hochwald, who was an Google Anita Borg Finalist (AU/NZ) in 2008 and 2009. One aspect of the associated retreat in Sydney was brainstorming causes for the low participation of females in ICT in Australia, New Zealand and in general the world. Correspondingly this leads to the question of what can be done about the problem? Debate on this topic is often contentious and interesting! Miriam noted that all the Finalists and Scholars had some kind of encouragement in order to create a path, and sustain their development within computing. 

It was perceived that this could be found within their close personal relationships, which may or may not be associated with computing. So formed the idea for need for support on an ongoing basis, and the creation of relationships between females whilst studying computing. With a bit of hand waiving generalisation, male Geeks often do this over pizza and coke, at the pub over a beer, or in the late night extravaganzas of the computing labs. Body odour and ego competition here we come! (sorry guys) But the last time I checked, pizza and coke only made me feel fat, along with the sheer amount of sedentary hours in front of a computer. Also females have the tendency to compete in a less direct manner, and are socially conditioned to be more co-opreative in their working approach.

A startling fact is that even within classes females tend to avoid networking with each other, often preferring to refrain from standing out more than they already do in their predominantly male cohort. Reports of this sentiment are at times so arresting that females mightn't even attend tutorials for fear of feeling out of place. So, what we are talking about is establishing a comfortable setting for females just to be themselves, to chat about their lives and things they are passionate about, such as ICT. This really is about at the primary level of feeling secure enough to say "hi". A revolutionary concept indeed!

Here is the best testimonial example for the reasons why Girl Geek Coffees (GGC) was created and the need for it. Or perhaps check out this link, which has a nice quote at the end of it:

"When I was in university I helped at our local chapter of a women in computing group. I tried to encourage all the women I knew to join. Yet, there were some women who shied away from the group saying that they didn’t need a group to go to so that they could complain. In essence they were wary of labeling themselves as someone who needed help. I always tried to emphasize how easy it is to feel isolated; that going and being part of a community is giving help as much as receiving; and, that groups can do some things that an individual cant."

Here is an interesting perspective on "why it is awesome to be a female in tech", with many pros and cons attached. Or perhaps you might like to hear from the "Girl Geeks" themselves?

The idea to start of Girl Geek Coffees was canvassed to Google, to provide active support and funding. Because relationships were already formed during the Google Anita Borg Memorial AU/NZ Retreat, it was easier to form a working relationship and get Google staff and Anita Borg Scholars to take the idea and run with it. Incidentally, the hat goes off to any company that actively designates funding and Human Resource hours to assist others in need, in a conscientious and proactive manner. So, if you are an individual or company that wants to put your hand up - great!

Girl Geek Coffee Chapters can be found at Universities in major capital cities of Australia and New Zealand. GGC is kindly sponsored by Google via the Google Coffee Club Ambassador program, which was specifically set up for this purpose.

It is just as important to keep something up and running, as it is the start out on a journey! With that in mind here are the founders and contributors, to the best of the knowledge of the writer. Although, as something grows and expands taking on a life of its own, it is often hard to keep up with the exact dynamics and history.

Disclaimer: Student full names have been protected. Direct head hunting will be significantly frowned upon. Girl Geek Coffees (GGC) is a tech and company neutral collective which acts in the greater good of its members.

Girl Geek Coffees (GGC):
Miriam Hochwald (Founder & Executive Director)

GGC Industry Ambassadors: 

Google - 2009
Reading Room - 2011
Suncorp - 2012

GGC Academic Ambassadors: 
    Griffith University - 2009
    Queensland University of Technology - 2011
    University of Queensland - 2011
    University of Technology Sydney - 2011
    Macquarie University - 2011
    Southern Cross University - 2011
    Monash University - 2009
    Deakin Unviersity - 2012
    Swinburne University - 2011
    Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology - 2009
    University of Melbourne - 2011
    Australian National University - 2009
    University of Tasmania - 2011
    University of Adelaide - 2009
    Curtin University - 2012

United States of America:
    Pace University - 2011
    Harvey Mudd - 2011
    University of Texas - 2010
    Wentworth Institue of Technology - 2011

GGC Ambassador Founders: 



Queensland Supergroup:  Miriam Hochwald (Founder - 2009)
    University of Queensland: Miriam Hochwald (Founder - 2009)
    Queensland University of Technology: Sarah K (Founder - 2009)
    Griffith University: Jenine B (Founder - 2009)
    University of the Sunshine Coast: Felicity M (Founder - 2012)


Victoria Supergroup: Xiaohauan (Iris) Y (2009)
    Monash University: Xiaohauan (Iris) Y (2009)
    RMIT & University of Melbourne: Dana Z (2009)
    Swinburne University: Erica L (2011)
    University of Ballarat: Sally F (2011)
    Deakin University: Rachael R (2012)

New South Wales:

Sydney GGC Supergroup: Alexandra H (2011)
    University of Technology Sydney: (2011)
    University of Sydney: (2011)
    University of Ballarat: (2011)
    Qantm College & SAE: Anna R (2011)
    University of New South Wales -
    Macquarie University - 
    University of Western Sydney -
    TAFE -    
Southern Cross University: (2012)

Australian Capital Territory:

    Australian National University: Ko-Hsin (Cindy) W (2009)
    University of Canberra: (2012)

Western Australia:

    University of Western Australia: Angeline H (2011)
    Curtin University: (2012)

South Australia:
    South Australia Supergroup: Jaksha S (2012)


Tasmania Supergroup: 
    University of Tasmania: (2012)

New Zealand:

New Zealand Supergroup: Tania R (2012)
University of Auckland: Tania R (2009)

    Vancouver: Karen T (2011)

United States of America:
    New York: Christina A (2011)
   University of California (2012)
   Stanford University (2012)
   University of Florida (2012)

    Maharashtra (2012)


   Xi L (2012)
Coast Rica:

United Kingdom:
    London (2012)
    Edinburgh (2012)

The Netherlands:
    Deflt (2012)

The original GGC start up Ambassadors can be found here. Listed above are the chapters that consistently kept at the difficult task with lasting Girl Geek Coffee Chapters.

Girl Geek Coffees (GGC) is a Charitable Institution registered with the ACNC, ASIC and the ATO within Australia. Girl Geek Coffees is a trading name of Girl Geek Coffees Pty Ltd. ACN: 161 767 844, ABN: 20 161 767 844.