Earlier this year I withdrew from a conference because the organizer refused to implement a proper code of conduct (eventually he put up something but he refused to specify unacceptable behavior). I did not expect this to be such a contentious decision or one I would have to be reminded of nearly 6 months later. However last week the conference organizer shouted out to women who weren’t there – including me, and another woman who had dropped out for the same reason.
I also didn’t expect my objection to that to be so contentious. Currently there is some not-fun stuff happening (I don’t even know how much) and I am in a state of social media lockdown as an act of self-preservation.
If you want to support me personally:
- Supportive messages are great! I’m really appreciating all the love.
- Support Technically Speaking (the newsletter on public speaking I co-curate). Subscribe, tweet about it, have your company sponsor it.
- Invite me to speak at your event (with a code of conduct!) next year. I have 4 of 6 slots left for 2016, two talks prepped and other topics I’m excited to share.
If you want to support more inclusive conferences:
- Take Ashe Drydens CoC pledge and take it seriously. Ask for a code of conduct. Make sure it is meaningful (see the model one). Do not attend or speak if there is not one. You will miss out on some opportunities this way, but decide that opportunities that are not inclusive are not opportunities you want.
If you want to support inclusiveness in tech:
- Financially support a diverse founding team today. My personal pick right now are the Tinsel headphones, but there are many more.
I am not a professional inclusivity advocate: I am a software engineer. I care about inclusivity because it is part of being a decent human being, and fundamental to the kind of engineering leader I aim to be. Whilst I am having a less than fun week, I do not anticipate this having a long term effect on my career.
One thing I have heard from many women over the last day is “thank you for doing this for all of us”. I take a stance on this because I can, and this is not true of everyone. If it’s true of you, I invite you to join me and the many other people who work continually so that asking for a code of conduct is reasonable, is easy, until eventually, no one needs to ask anymore because it’s as much part of running an event as booking a venue and ordering food.