Women at YAPC

I already mentioned the keynote of Skud on OSCON. In that she writes that while in the IT industry in general about 20% are women, there are only about 1.5% among the open source contributors. In 2007, her survey of the Perl community found about 5% women - both contributors to Perl and users of Perl.

We might not be able to influence the number of women in IT in general but we can at least help more of them join the Perl community on various levels.

To see how we are doing on conferences I checked the percentage of women on both YAPC::NA 2009 and on YAPC::EU 2009.

On the former I found 11 women out of 283, slightly below 4% while in the latter 18 out of 330 people slightly above 5% On YAPC::EU there were 5 women speakers out of the approximately 80 speakers bringing that to 6%.

I might have missed a few women as not all the names indicate (to me) gender. Also it would be important to check other events as well (e.g the various workshops) and previous conferences as well. We should also check the number of women speakers on those events.

I think it would be great if we could see more women on Perl conferences both in the audience and as speakers. So how can we make that happen?

The Ten tips for getting more women speakers of Skud is a good starting point for the organizers. This could be handled both by YAPC organizers, Perl Workshop organizers and even by those who organize the local Perl Monger meetings.

Now that I think of it, here in Israel there are two Perl Monger groups. One of them is lead by a woman.

I'd like to call all the women who are already in the Perl community to help in this. Some of you might not understand what is the problem of the other women - after all you do go to conferences or otherwise are already involved - but I think your presence will greatly help in making changes so other women also feel welcomed, appreciated and safe.