On Getting Women to Speak at Conferences
Two pills: one bitter, one sweet.
First, John Wilker got angry the other week about the reluctance of women to speak at events he organised, and wrote An Open Letter to Women in Tech:
Ladies… you can’t write blog posts about sausage-fests, and too many dicks on the dance floor at tech conferences, and then never show up. You can’t wait for people to include you.
Unsurprisingly, there was quite a backlash. Wilker apologised in an update and a later post, but the extent of the apology leaves something to be desired—spot the weasel language:
If my previous post offended you, I’m sorry. My intent wasn’t to offend or be sexist, or in any way belittle anyone, male or female.
I’m sorry you were offended and I didn’t mean to be sexist do not belong in an apology. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Fire those phrases out of your vocabulary and into the fucking sun.
Moving on, Courtney Stanton achieved a 50/50 gender ratio in her speaker line-up for a videogames conference. Doesn’t sound like it was a walk in the park, but she managed it:
I came away from the process of promoting and recruiting potential speakers with a bitter, unwilling sympathy for event organizers who say, “there aren’t any women speaking because no women applied.” Like oh em gee y’all.
If that doesn’t improve your Monday, you must already be having the best Monday ever.