When it comes to the gender balance of its speaker line-up, eurucamp stands out as a role model amongst tech conferences. With a great effort put towards inclusiveness year after year, it gives people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to participate in the conference not only as speakers, but also as attendees. eurucamp does a lot of outreach to underrepresented communities, and encourages potential speakers to submit talks about their unique experiences and original ideas. Why? Because we want to hear things at eurucamp which one would not normally hear at other conferences.
If you want more information about our outreach program, we wrote extensively about it two years ago. Not a lot has changed since then, because we think it has been a great success so far. Long story short: the selection committee has a blind selection and then the highest rated proposals are chosen.
JRubyConf.EU, eurucamp, and EuRuKo all worked together this year: from CfPs, to outreach programs, right down to the selection process. The only difference in the selection process for JRubyConf.EU, is that talks about JRuby received higher ratings. Whereas this led to an almost equal gender ratio for eurucamp, our selection process for JRubyConf.EU sadly ended with a male-only roster, for the second year in a row.
We are not proud of this, and thought that it was just a reflection of the OSS world.
Only 11% of OSS contributers are women, but it is not our job to mirror a sad reality. Instead, it is our responsibility to change things. Luckily, one of us spoke up and stopped us from throwing in the towel, and in the true spirit of development, we set about finding a solution.
After some discussion, we thought about a locally-founded organization close to our hearts. Many of us have been involved with this organization in one way or another, and consider the organizers to be good friends. It's an organisation which "[aims] to foster diversity in Open Source", which is exactly what we were looking for.
Since 2012, the Rails Girls Summer of Code has been incredibly successful in helping women enter the world of Open Source. Their organizers are dedicated to the belief that beyond benefiting participants, the presence of a more diverse crowd benefits Open Source itself.
We asked them to give us a hand in changing things at JRubyConf.EU, and they were happy to oblige. We are proud to announce that RGSoC team lead, Anika Lindtner, will give her aptly named talk entitled "How you can fix your community in one day", and co-organizers Sara Regan and Laura Gaetano will be our MCs. We hope that they will inspire the audience to support a more diverse community.
We are so happy that these three wonderful and inspiring women are joining us. It is the first step towards a more diverse conference, and towards finding ways to be even better next year.