Python Beginners Workshop for Women* – March 2016

tl;dr: On the first three Saturdays of March 2016 (5., 12., 19.) we will provide a python programming workshop for women* who have little or no programming experience at all. Child care will be available if needed. Ideally bring your own laptop with python installed. There will be a separate python installation support date on Sat., 27th February. If you are interested, please write to For more details, see below.

Python Beginners Workshop for Women* – 5., 12., 19. March 2016

Have you ever wondered how it might be to not only use computer programs, but also write them yourself? Are you curious about programming? Want to try it out? Then this workshop is an opportunity for you to learn basic principles of programming and to code little scripts, which might be fun and/or even help you in your daily tasks, especially if you are studying natural or technical sciences, where python is often applied.

But what about the specific setting of this workshop?

Gender bias is present from very early on in education. Starting with the choice between cars and dolls, little babies are educated to conform to the stereotypes that society still imposes. Various studies show that gender bias is strongly perpetuated by early education at school. Girls are often less encouraged and receive less teacher consideration and constructive feedback, especially in science and mathematics, which are still believed to be not their fields. Boys are expected to be more competitive, outspoken, and autonomous. Moreover, textbooks and children’s literature continue to portray stereotyped gender-role behaviours and characters. The result is that boys dominate the classroom, because they are expected to be more active than girls, and this behaviour is perpetuated in higher education as well. But sexism harms all genders. Boys are also stereotyped into non-flexible gender roles since childhood, and also when they grow up they still feel the pressure to not appear “feminine,” and men who do not fit this pattern are often excluded and feel failure and shame. Already many positive changes have occurred relative to the past, but a false sense of accomplishment has also taken root. While bias is less evident today, its influence is not less virulent, partly because it is more subtle.

Stereotyping is particularly alive in technology and computer sciences. Studies suggest that stereotypes of academic fields influence who chooses to participate in these fields. Men with high math and computer abilities are strongly encouraged to enter these fields, while women with high math and computer abilities are less likely to do so, also because of the stereotypes they hold about these fields. This situation reduces the self-confidence of women to approach computer science problems.

The aim of the workshop is first of all to create a chance for women* to approach to a new topic in computer sciences in a safe environment, where the awareness of gender bias problems in education, and computer sciences in particular, is taken into consideration. Moreover, we aim to exploit this occasion to reflect and learn together about gender issues in the classroom, and how to avoid them.

Who’s invited?

We did this workshop last year in a gender mixed environment, but with the focus on being a feminist workshop and reflecting the pitfalls and potentials of different forms and settings of learning to program. Now we would like to try a women* only workshop. The * at the end of women* points to the social (and of course also biological) construction of women – so we want to invite people who understand themselves and live as women.

And of course the categories of sex and gender also do not determine ones approach to programming. So in addition we want to emphasise that this workshop is for beginners. If you already have some knowledge and experience with programming you are also heartily welcome, but please keep in mind that we will focus on basic concepts and the questions regarding these issues. If you want to have more sophisticated tech talk, keep in mind that this might discourage those people who are not yet so tech savvy and are just trying to establish some basic programming skills. Especially just showing off what you already know might discourage others. So please don’t. Rather try to guide and help. See the notes below how to do so.

Do I have to know anything before? Are there any requirements?

No, there are no requirements, except that you would like to see how programming in python works.

The only other thing that would be great if you bring along your own device (preferably a notebook), on which you can do the coding. This also means that you should have python already installed. If you are unsure how to do that, you might join the python installation gathering on 27th of February, where we can help you to get everything set up.

Also, please consider to be there on all three workshop dates, as the workshop will be consecutive. If you cannot make it to all three date, especially to the first two ones, then please consider to give your place to someone on the waiting list – as there usually are much more people interested than we can host.

What if I already did some python (or other) coding but still are interested?

If you already have a little experience with programming, especially in python, you could consider to help out as a coach for the others. Just write us that you would be interested in that, even if you are not sure if you know “enough”. There will be a preparation meeting for all coaches before the workshops start.

You can also take a look at last years slides, to get a feeling for what we will do in the workshop:


If you want to attend, please write us until Feburary 20 to

We will provide child care if anyone of the participants needs it. So please let us know if you want to bring along a child.

Also if you have any other needs we should be aware of to support you, please let us know.

The space in the workshop will be limited to 25 participants and we will give those seats away on some sort of first-come first-serve basis. If you were on the waiting list of last year’s workshop your registration will be prioritized.

The workshop is free of charge. We are doing this in our spare time. And we are glad for the financial support of the following groups, to be able to provide child care and some snacks and beverages:

If time and resources permit us to, we might try to do another workshop in the fall of 2016.

Update 2016-02-27:

Here are the installation instructions from our install session:

Update 2016-03-04:

The slides for the workshop:


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