Note: This guest post is Written by Maryam Ansari, Maryam is an Iranian author, project manager and translator. She obtained her B.A. in Persian literature from university of Tehran and is now studying her M.A. in French literature. She believes in translation as a means for progress. She is currently focused on Ladybug, a project to encourage women’s presence in the tech scene. You can follow her on Twitter or Connect her via Linkedin.
Ladybug (“Kafshdoozak” in Persian) is a project that seeks to encourage, empower and prepare a generation of Iranian women who will be enthusiastic about and active in different technological fields. It delivers this mission through the following steps:
To inform men and women of the gender gap that exists in the tech field, Ladybug publishes articles and interviews on a regular basis. By highlighting the achievements of successful women in spite of this gap, Iranian women will have role-models to look up to.
Members in Ladybug Club are provided with online courses on a variety of tech-related subjects. Ladybug also host workshops to train women with necessary skills on entrepreneurship, creative skillsets, web and mobile design, programming, etc.
Ladybug members and trainees will benefit from a professional network through which they will be able to form circles, start their start-ups, promote themselves as freelancers or apply for job interviews. In the long term, by coaching, mentoring and fund-raising, Ladybug aspires to help women in their personal and professional growth.
The vision is to balance the workforce in Iran and equip women with the inspiration and support they need to fill half of the positions in the flourishing IT industry. Ladybug seeks to fill the gender gap that exists today by insisting on the presence of women, not separating them from men.
The story of Ladybug
Two years ago, the autumn of 2012, was when the Idea of ladybug occurred to its founders. As the world of internet and tech has been male-dominated in Iran as in many other countries, they have always perceived the absence of women in the tech scene. While surfing the web, they came across Ladygeek, a project that sought to increase the part women play in technology. They searched further, there were a handful of other inspiring projects and organizations with the sole goal of encouraging women to choose and pursue tech. They thought “why not us? Why not Iran?”
Then began their quest to identify the problems that prevented Iranian women from equally participating in the tech scene. Ladybug was the solution they prepared to right the wrongs. It took them 6 months to develop an operational plan and form their team. The first webpage was launched on June 2013, then started the campaigning that attracted the attention of the press as well as the public. Then Ladybug Club was developed in the following months: primarily a LMS that allows members to study an online course, pass the exams and receive the course certification. The Club (beta version launched on June 2014) helps Ladybug unify all of its objectives in one place, as features like “support” and “professional circles” will be added. Now, in the summer of 2014, Ladybug is hosting its workshops, while keeping in touch with its fans and members via newsletters, Twitter, and Facebook.
Along the way, there were many volunteers and well-known IT specialists that helped and advised the team, promoted the project, accepted to train the members and are continuing to do so. The team and the members of Ladybug are grateful for all their help. Let us hope that one day, everyone in Iran web scene will contribute to this project by their whole-hearted support, if not by their time and energy.