it was quite fun! There were 8 of us. I made a simple pasta thing and other people brought breads and sides and deserts. those of us who drank, drank. those who didn't, didn't. we talked about work for a little bit but then the conversation went pretty well. no weird awkward silences. it wasn't boring.
I'm proud because I actually know every woman in my department, and I think I was the only one. Everyone else needed some kind of introduction. We all work in different groups and different buildings and I had a feeling that would happen, so even better that I had the deal.
I used to always feel like I needed some complicated justification for wanting to get women together, like we were being oppressed or something, or we were terribly special, and I don't feel like that anymore. I just feel like it's good for engineers to be friends with one another on whatever grounds they find necessary. and since women add diversity to the department as a whole, it's even more important for us to have friends in the department, and often easier for us to be friends with someone we have something in common with. in college, when I was in society of women engineers, people would occasionally ask me why there wasn't a society of men engineers, or they'd just point out the fact that if someone started a society of men engineers they'd be called sexist. I never had a great answer for that... the best thing I could come up with was that the acronym SME was already taken. So when I realized my answer (that engineering, in and of itself, is already a society of men) it was a big step for me. I also started understanding how important it was for engineering to evolve past the stereotypical picture of what it always had been, for globalization reasons if nothing else. Then it didn't have to be about me. It was about everyone.
I guess i've always had my same gut feelings, I just feel better about them now.