07:28 AM

No Men Allowed: Girls In Tech Expands To New York, LA, And Beyond

AdrianaGascoigne.jpg"Women in the work place are very competitive with each other and that makes the glass ceiling twice as thick," says Adriana Gascoigne. She is the founder of Girls in Tech, a 1300 strong organization that seeks to empower women in the technology industry.

Tech companies continue to be heavily male dominated and that's something that Girls in Tech hopes to change through networking, roundtables, and entrepreneurial workshops. And only women are invited.

"When women get together we can connect on a deeper level than if men are around," says Ms Gascoigne. "It helps to build confidence and it helps to create stronger relationships."

Men are allowed to some events such as dinners but they have to be a guest of a member.

A lot of women in tech tend to try to blend in, they dress in a similar manner to the men, and they behave in a similar way but this is a mistake she says.

"It is important to embrace feminity, to embrace girliness," says Ms Gascoigne. "Too many women think they need to be more like men to succeed. You don't."

Ms Gascoigne says she was lucky growing up, her parents encouraged her to be very self-confident, but that's not true for many women. Being in a heavily male dominated workplace can be intimidating.

It was this realization that led Ms Gascoigne to create the Girls in Tech organization.

The first meetings started with just five or six women getting together every other week. In March 2007 Girls in Tech was launched as an official organization.

IIn September 2008 Jessica Valenzuela and Davina Anthony were encouraged to participate as co-founders to help strengthen the presence of Girls in Tech. There are chapters in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and plans for chapters in Portland, Austin, and London.

(Ms Gascoigne is the director of corporate communications at Hi5, one of the world's largest social networks.)

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