The Sandman Will Keep You Awake - The Loop
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Geek groups wishing to address gender diversity may have problems finding women to employ, to speak at conferences, and so on. This page suggests general strategies for individuals or groups to make sure their geek network includes women.
- Get your house clean: are there sexist incidents occuring in your geek community, whether documented here or not? Get on top of them prior to reaching out to women. See Apologies and So you made a mistake.
- Consider a Diversity statement for your group. If your gender diversity is really bad, this may dig up issues and assumptions that you'd been unaware of simply because there were no visible women to trigger them. Then you can address them early.
- Where there is a women-focussed geek event that is mixed gender, attend and do whatever networking you'd usually do at a geek event. See, for example Girl Geek Dinners.
- Encourage and support women already in your group to speak at conferences, attend events and similar. When asked to recommend speakers or for prominent names, check whether you've gone through women you know for suitable names.
- Know how to contact the local women-centered geek groups in your area. Advertise things like events and job openings there (where their policy allows, obviously).
- Get to know the names and work of the most active women volunteers in local geek groups (women-centered and not). When events and job openings come up, specifically invite them personally to present, to submit papers, to apply for that job, etc.
- Don't reach out to women just because they're women. Make sure their interests/skills are aligned too.
- Don't expect women already in the field to do the legwork for you.
- Don't expect women to educate you in Feminism 101.
- Don't say "we want more women" without taking steps to make the group or event safe, inclusive, and supportive. Do you have an anti-harassment policy? Is your event/group family-friendly? Do you provide T-shirts in women's sizes? If not, your words will ring false.