Brenda Leeuwenberg – Project Director, NZ On Screen

“In around 1996 I started a group called ‘Webgrrls’ in New Zealand, part of an international movement started in the US. The idea behind it was that at that time being online was quite isolating and people were working with the Internet in their own little pockets, in their homes or their offices. There were women online but not that many and for some, it was quite a daunting place. And particularly to ask the dumb questions – ‘how do I do this?’, ‘how do I get that?’ – and at that time, if you walked into a Dick Smith and you were a woman and you asked a question, they’d automatically talk to the guy that came with you, even if he was 12. So Webgrrls was a place where a woman could ask the dumb questions, could enthuse about technology, could share their experiences. It really hit a note at that time. We used to have gatherings in cafés where people would come and teach basic HTML, how Web pages work, how you use Usenet groups. A couple of times we had evenings of product indulgence and techno lust and Apple and Dell would come along with the latest computers and we’d have wine and geek around...”


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