Most see this as a good thing, but I find the whole “we need more women speakers” speech very irritating. Too many PHP conferences are doing it. I don’t like that. I have your attention, but you may have already come up with some questions for me. Are you against diversity? Are you sexist? Do you think that women should stay at home and cook? The simple fact of my disagreeing on the topic almost inevitably lead to such assumptions. I will explain my position through personal stories.
I read an interesting point of view from Melinda Seckington. One thing that caught my eye was her mention of how she wears geeky t-shirts so that people believe that she’s actually a geek. Like her, I prefer to wear womanly clothes in public. But the assumption doesn’t bother me. Here’s why.
I had the pleasure of discussing with fellow members of the PHP community a very sensitive topic: sexism in tech. I have been invited to a special episode of Voices of the ElePHPant with Elizabeth (Beth) Tucker Long, Elizabeth (Liz) Naramore and Laura Thomson. Cal Evans was the host. The podcast’s page features links for some of the topics discussed.
Why do we have so few female speakers at IT conferences? I’m not talking about SEO / Social Media / UX conferences. I’m talking about hard-core programming conferences. I have been organizing conferences since 2006 and no matter how hard I tried, I ended up with nearly no proposals from women.
It starts with the lack of females in this field. Prejudice or discrimination don’t prevent women from choosing IT, but they can certainly make life hard. These problems exist in every field though…