One day my daughter will ask me how we tolerated this
In the olden days of blogging, you used to be able to write one sentence, include a link that would trigger a TrackBack, and everybody would know that you’d agreed with what somebody had just written. But it isn’t the olden days, so in order to say “I agree with what he said” I need to manually link to Matt Andrews’ blog post and say “I agree with what he said.”
So go and read this, and then come back.
Matt pretty much said everything I would want to say. I’ve done some arranging of events and conference programmes myself, so I know the score. As @Aral put it on Twitter:
“If my process resulted in a 100% male speaker roster in an industry that isn’t 100% male, I would not be happy with that process.”
This isn’t a witch-hunt against a particular set of conference organisers, it is a problem for our entire industry. We simply can’t be building the best products, which will be used by the half of the human race who are female, if we don’t involve women in their design and manufacture. I’m not talking about ushering in some communist dictatorship or socialist utopia here, I’m just pointing out that limiting your ideas and discussion pool to the 50% of people who happen to be male just doesn’t make sense.
If my daughter grows up and wants to go into tech, and is still faced with events where organisers think it is OK to have 22 male speakers out of a possible 22 speakers, she’ll be entitled to turn around to me and ask why I didn’t make a fuss when I could.
UPDATED 16:24 — Matt, who wrote the blog post that inspired this one, has posted a series of tweets saying:
“Update about the EdgeConf diversity issue and my blogpost about it: @triblondon (conf organiser) and I went for coffee earlier… We had a polite(!), productive and enlightening (probably from both sides) conversation for over an hour about the situation. They’re going to add some explanatory rationale behind the conference planning which should hopefully make things a little clearer And I’m going to keep an eye on any unintentionally-emerging Twitter mobs (and perhaps email feedback before blogging next time). Overall I think their heart’s in the right place, no malice was intended and everyone’s learned a bit about social responsibilities.”