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Page history last edited by Chris Messina 13 years, 3 months ago

BarCamp has a history of being a geek event -- after all, it started out in Silicon Valley.

But just because its heritage lies in computing doesn't mean that its destiny is to inherit the traditionally homogenous culture that established an industry.

Rather, the future of technology and of culture, which BarCamp should be very closely tied to, is about diversity. And every event that our community has should endeavor to be as open, as inclusive and as accommodating as humanly possible.

It's not entirely clear how one achieves diversity, especially in an event that is anti-invite and open to everyone already. But let's be realistic: being open to everyone doesn't necessarily mean that you've created an inclusive or supportive atmosphere.

So, as a community, we should tackle this problem head on and develop strategies for increasing the core diversity of the BarCamp community. We're all responsible for how diverse and rich our events are; as a community, we're in the best position to do this better than anyone else.

Please leave your suggestions, experiences or links to external proposals or ideas.

  • Be more appreciative of aspects of events that help women feel more comfortable and welcomed
  • Go where women are and invite them -- too often, I don't find out about events (ones where I would have applied to speak and/or attended) until after they've happened
  • Ask attendees to actively seek out and invite folks who don't fit the "white straight young male" mould?
  • Watch Kirrily Robert's "Standing Out in the Crowd" talk at OSCON 2009; read the related post.
  • ...add your own



  • Open Source, Cold Shoulder -- Proponents of open source software often describe their campaign as a great equalizer: Not only is it freely available, but anyone who wants to help can do so. But does the community welcome all with open arms?
  • The Lack of Conference Childcare: A Barrier to Entry -- Networking is a vital component of career development, especially for early-career professionals on the tenure track. As they begin the struggle to get their careers off the ground, they are, very likely, in their peak child-bearing and early child-rearing years. So when a junior faculty member with a 1-year-old daughter is invited to speak at a prestigious international conference and her partner isn't available for childcare, what should she do?

Blog posts

  • Step 4: Respect -- If you and your teammates don’t respect one another, it won’t matter what IDE you’re using, what programming language you’ve chosen, how carefully you take minutes during your meetings, or how accurate your schedule estimates are—by all measures except your final grade, you will fail.
  • Vox Ally -- But there are several other tech/geek/web/etc. conferences where the panelists are all white men. White men who often get defensive and pop out the "Well, I didn't organize it, I'm just here to speak" reason when questioned about the lack of diversity on the panels or in the room even.
  • Ruby and Male Privilege by Coda Hale


  • The opening of Lisa Randall's Warped Passages starts with her complaining about scientific literature and how it failed to engage her. Any suggestions for ways to make web development more appealing to women would obviously help a great deal. Perhaps Bar Camp could ask women and other people what inspired them to become web developers, what would help etc work with an existing college or institution on the issue.
  • Bar Camp could help fund, or give to an existing, non-profit that brings I.T.-ish skills to cultures with low I.T. skills. Nigeria is part of one laptop per child for instance hence they will probably be putting out web developers in the near future similar to the way India does. Bar Camp could volunteer expertise or help create curriculum for schools that want to teach I.T. on a budget. For instance take some MIT open course ware and invent games and other simplified instructional materials for students in under-privledged schools and countries.
  • Most of the previous ideas have already been thought of and people are working on elsewhere.