So you want more women at your tech event? Say it out loud.

This is Part 3 of an ongoing series called So you want more women at your tech event?

One of the biggest mistakes I see conference organizers make is not making a public statement on gender equality. It’s a very small thing to do, but the effect can be huge.

I had been meaning to write this post earlier, but in August it’s easy to get sidelined by the summer weather. And I was looking for a good example. Luckily, yesterday I was sent a link to the Diversity Statement for PyCon 2012, the largest annual conference for the Python programming language.

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So you want more women at your tech event? Put a woman in charge

This is Part 1 of an ongoing series called So you want more women at your tech event?

One of the first things you should do if you want more women at your tech event, is put a woman in charge. Tech events usually have an organizing committee and there should be at least one woman on that committee. You could even try two or more!

But what does “in charge” mean? It means having a woman organizer who will have some authority, who will have the power to say no and to implement positive measures that appeal to women. Yes, I’m telling male event organizers that they have to actually cede some power to women. Continue reading

So you want more women at your tech event?

This is what a tech event looks like when women are welcome.

Baby at PodCamp Montreal

This is a photo of me, taken by the talented Eva Blue at PodCamp Montreal 2010. I also brought my baby to WordCamp 2010 about two weeks before this photo was taken. There were at least two other babes in arms at that event. Their dads brought them. Continue reading

The price of admission

After I wrote my last blog post on women in tech (or more accurately the invisibility of women in tech), both organizers of Startup Fest emailed me. They weren’t happy with the article. And (surprise!) they wanted me to MC the Granny Den.

They offered to let me help organize the Granny Den, make it more respectful and I’d also get to go to StartupFest for free.

For those arriving late to the party, Startup Fest had planned an event where startups would pitch their ideas to grandmothers. Their reasoning: that if even a grandmother could understand it, anyone could and it would made good business sense.

I called the premise sexist. Continue reading

Not so subtle discrimination in the startup community

This article first appeared on Feministing on June 4.

On June 3, a new startup accelerator, FounderFuel launched. The group, located in Montreal, Canada, but funding startups internationally launched with 85 members, but not one woman.

“At FounderFuel we believe startup success is more about the people than the idea. We take a lot of care in choosing the smartest and most resourceful, dedicated and passionate people we can find.”

It seems that those are men. Continue reading