As much as I think I’ve learned over the years, there’s always an opportunity for the world to show me how far I have to go. That happened the other day.
One thing I’ve learned, don’t hit “Publish” angry. The addendum to that is DO hit “edit” when not angry. I wrote a page for 360|iDev on our feelings on Conference Diversity. At the time I wrote it, was angry about things I saw other events doing. I made that page about that, which was wrong. Then two years later, it was still about those things, which now made no sense and had no context.
My Conference Diversity Page did the exact opposite, which makes me sick to my stomach. The worst part about words on the internet is the person behind them is stripped away, and the words have to stand on their own, and often mine are their own worst enemy.
360|iDev strives every year to be as open and welcoming as possible. To encourage a diverse attendance and speaker line up. Last year I invited Brianna Wu (@spacekatgal) to be the keynote speaker because I respected her and her company (an all female game dev shop) and thought she’d be a welcome voice at the conference. She crushed it by the way.
This year I’m hoping to have not just a Women In Tech Breakfast (we’ve hosted one at every event we do for the last two or so years), but a Women In Tech Lounge. It’s a work in progress based on this. I hope it works out, I think it’d be a valuable addition to 360|iDev.
This year’s 360|iDev attendance is about 7% women. That makes me sad. I want to do better. That’s up from 4% two years ago which is a plus for sure! But a long way still to go.
Since 2012 I’ve spent my money, my time, and the resources of my company to further the cause of Women In Tech. It means a lot to me, I’m married to a Woman In Tech, I have many friends with daughters that I want to not be afraid of becoming a programmer or engineer.
We’ve supported “The Click” hosting a breakfast for female attendees to talk about issues surrounding WIT. Last year we hosted a panel discussion with members of NCWIT. We donated money and conference passes to App Camp 4 Girls, and I personally spent a good part of a week this year wearing an orange vest for AltConf to be a visible presence of our inclusion policies and a clearly visible first line of defense when our policies were being violated. I’d do it all again.
Those things mean a lot to me, and have made me (I think) a better person. Hearing from people I deeply respect about what it’s like being a woman in technology makes it clear there’s so much more to do.