- Technical conferences usually have a very small minority of Women speakers or may only have token women presenting.
- Low attendance by women
- Attracting women to tech conferences: my experience with Sketching by Mike Kuniavsky
- Invisibility -- women may be so rare at tech conferences that their existence is largely ignored. See Tshirts for example.
- Women who attend may be assumed to be accompanying a male partner, rather than attending for the technical content
- Sexualized environment
- There may be Social expectations that women will volunteer for certain "soft" roles and activities at the conference
- Conference facilities and the format of events may not be women-friendly and may disadvantage mothers of young children in particular
- Although it's for a short period of their life, women in the later stages of pregnancy may not be able to fly to conferences or anything else, or get travel insurance if they do so.
- The technical glass ceiling can mean that technical women are found in more junior positions, making them less likely to be chosen to speak and much less likely to get travel assistance or leave to attend. Together with family responsibilities and family expenditure priorities that disfavour her (see Motherhood), women may be unable or unwilling to use their own funds and their own vacation time on conference attendance.
Responses and solutions
- See Sexualized presentation for a list of conference presentations with sexualized content
- See Booth babes for incidents relating to booth babes at conferences and trade shows
- Shanley Kane: Seethe and Grin: My Life Going to Tech Events
Women featured at conferences
Women at specific conferences
The following conferences are covered on this wiki. Please add a page for any conferences you attend. If you'd like to help out by tallying Women speakers at these conferences, it would be much appreciated.
- Open Source Bridge
- Web 2.0 Expo
- Ohio LinuxFest
- (please add a page for any technical conference you attend)
Women-friendly and women-centric events at technical conferences
These can help encourage and recognise women in the technical community.
- LinuxChix miniconf at linux.conf.au
- Women In Open Source (WIOS) miniconferences at SCALE in 2007 and 2008.
- SXSW Interactive often has sessions on feminism, issues facing women online, etc.
- Diversity in Open Source workshop at Ohio LinuxFest 2009
Papers about women presented at technical conferences
- Heroes Women in FOSS presentation at OSCON 2008
- Form an Orderly Queue Ladies presentation at OSCON 2008
- Be Counted collects gender representation statistics at conferences.