Girls Who Can: Building a Community of Technical Women

By Jazz Coupland and Sharlene Gandhi

They say a network is based on personal relationships, and personal relationships are often based on common ground. Within IBM, fluidity of roles, work, and experience creates a network-friendly culture, providing ample opportunity to meet new people within an existing macro-network of almost 400,000 IBMers. And presto – there’s your common ground!

Then comes another layer of common ground. Within the larger IBM umbrella, IBMers themselves form micro-communities that build upon a common love of or passion for something. Communities have been carefully pieced together on the basis of people striving for technological invention, people wanting to learn about other cultures, or even people trying to bring mindfulness to an otherwise fast-paced business environment.

One such community is Girls Who Can, a group of early professional women within IBM trying to bring business and technical expertise to other women. What differentiates Girls Who Can from other business communities for women is that it goes beyond simply talking at women about what they could be doing. Instead, Girls Who Can offers practical experience in the form of coding workshops, a godsend in a world where digital skills are needed at every nook and cranny. I would not be able to tell my Java from my HTML, my Python from my CSS, and yet I work for a tech company. Historically, men have dominated the STEM and technological fields, and while we can confidently say that this era is coming to an end, the historical effects still show in the gender balance of certain technological roles.

By teaching women to code, Girls Who Can increases young women’s confidence with regard to technology, ensuring that they can be just as competent as their male counterparts. Providing practical skills in a supportive environment, Girls Who Can is bringing the next generation of app developers, web designers and security managers to the spotlight.

To circle back around to the phenomenon of networking, teaching ten women to code could encourage another ten women to learn how to code. Ten new app developers could spark the collective creatives of ten more potential app developers. Ten new women making ground-breaking discoveries in the fields of science, technology and healthcare could inspire a whole generation of girls. This is the magic of networking and learning.


Jazz Coupland and Sharlene Gandhi make up the Girls Who Can Blog Team – find a little bit more about them below:

Jazz Coupland is an Interactive Experience consultant in IBM London. Jazz has been an IBMer for just over a year now, and thus far have spent the majority of her career working within the financial service sector on mobile projects.

Sharlene Gandhi joined IBM in 2016 and she work in the outsourcing unit, Business Process Services, focusing on sales operations and bid management.

If you are interested in finding out more about other technical opportunities at IBM, then follow our campaign #IBMTechTalent. If you want to learn more about how IBM promotes women empowerment, read the stories about #WomenAtIBM.

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Discover what you could do at IBM. ibm.biz/workatIBM

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