(Note from Kris: This is a bit of a rant, but I think it’s important!)
This morning I noticed a tweet about BrisTech’s response to feedback about diversity at their latest event:
Fair enough I thought. I click to read the article, which doesn’t fill me with confidence. Then I look at twitter.
How does a bigger city, with a bigger event than ours, manage to do so badly with diversity and inclusivity?
I check out twitter some more:
Wow. How did it all go so wrong. I particularly fumed at this reply:
So, they *can* find female contributors? Why didn’t they do this earlier?!
And the writing response – putting on workshops? I don’t think that’s going to help.
A few pro-tips
- Have a diverse leadership team
- Be pro-active
- Do the hard work
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
For our 2019 conference (which was security/cyber related, a particularly male-dominated tech sector) we didn’t have an equal number of female speakers, only getting 8 out of 27 despite pro-actively contacting under-represented individuals and groups, and offering coaching to encourage new and first-time speakers. I dread to think what the number would’ve been if we didn’t do that!
So we looked at other ways to promote a diverse and inclusive event – all of our track hosts were female – most of whom have spoken at our previous events, plus we made sure that all images and marketing texts were as gender balanced as possible.