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Hard out there for a chick: Girls in Tech starts L.A. chapter

July 18, 2008 |  6:00 am

Girls in Tech founder Adriana Gascoigne If you polled tech companies in Los Angeles to see if they employed more men or women, it's easy to guess what they'd say: For reasons that perhaps only former Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers can explain, men dominate tech.

But to paraphrase Jon Stewart, it just got a little easier out there for a chick. Thursday night, as SoCal techies partied the night away at the Twiistup event at the Viceroy in Santa Monica, Adriana Gascoigne (pictured) launched a Los Angeles chapter of Girls in Tech, the organization she founded last year with two other female consultants in the tech industry.

Girls in Tech seeks to bring women in technology together for workshops, educational events and networking events that encourage women to talk about tech and bounce ideas off one another. Membership is free, for now, and sorry, guys -- it's for women only.

"There aren't many women in tech, and I thought it would be a great way for us to come together and collaborate," Gascoigne said. That the organization's second chapter is in Los Angeles (the first was in Silicon Valley) is testament to the growing tech scene here, she said.

It's not the most sensitive tech scene though, said Lisa Schultz, who runs the Culver City-based online creative community The Whole 9. Schultz recently had a baby, and she said that when she went to LA tech events while pregnant and told men she ran a company, they looked at her in disbelief.

"They're not accustomed to women in this industry," she said. "They think women aren't as accomplished."

Of course, much as the road to women's liberation was littered with potholes, change might not be immediate for women in tech. Especially if they try to check out the Girls in Tech website, which, despite its pink and maroon color scheme and trendy logo that nods to the eyewear choices of Tina Fey, has an "under construction" message on just about every page.

-- Alana Semuels

Semuels, a Times staff writer, covers marketing and the L.A. tech scene.

Photo by Brian Caldwell via Flickr

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