Girl Develop It Philly turns one

In the auditorium of a church-turned-tech workspace, Yasmine Mustafa is stringing up a piñata filled with Nerds candies.

Mustafa is the organizer of Girl Develop It (GDI) Philly. And “Nerds”? That’s the theme of the organization’s first birthday bash. Mustafa points to a poster on the wall.


“So this is ‘Happy Birthday, Girl Develop It’ written in binary code in the shape of a cake,” she said. “How cool is that?”

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Last September, Mustafa — a “non-techie” tech entreprenuer — lauched the local GDI chapter after struggling to find a place where she could learn to code as a beginner.

The class she had wound up in was overpowered by skilled coders, who happened to be male. According to GDI, nine in ten U.S. web developers are guys.

“There isn’t enough diversity,” Mustafa said. “I feel like you need different types of people to work on something to really get at a solution that’s optimal.”

A bunch of guys coding in a room, she says, just isn’t cutting it.

“We provide a supportive, empowered environment for women to learn how to code,” Mustafa explained.

“More evolved”

In another corner of the auditorium Sarah Henry is mixing “HTML cocktail.”

That’s hard tea with minted lemonade. Get it? HTML.

Henry, a stock analyst by day, has taken eight of the 12 classes GDI Philly has offered in year one.

“I’m trying to learn some new computer skills to be a more evolved woman and a better mom and a better Philadelphian,” Henry said.

The group hopes to find more women like Henry in year two. So far over 400 local women have participated in at least one class.


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