CSSconf.eu is a not-for-profit conference and aims to bring people together who care about the web, are passionate about technology, and who form the CSS community.
It’s no secret that tech event audiences tend to have a white male majority. We know, however, that such audiences often aren't truly representative of the communities concerned and we’ve agreed with ourselves to actively try to improve this disparity. We’re more than happy to share our recipe for increased diversity at conferences (Spoiler: You can be a part of it, too!)
In order to represent the full potential of our wonderful community we decided to actively encourage women and other usually under-represented groups at tech events to participate in CSSconf.eu, either as attendees, speakers or organizers.
Because only with everyone involved we can eventually make CSSconf.eu the awesome and diverse event that it strives to be!
Inspired by the lovely people of JSConf.eu we chose to follow their example to get female speakers for CSSconf.eu.
This means we:
… reached out to people who could help to spread the word about the Call for Speakers, e.g. other conference organizers in the industry and people running women in tech initiatives.
… especially encouraged unexperienced speakers to submit a proposal and provided resources for putting a talk together (like the great "We are all awesome" website by Tiffany Conroy) but also helped with brainstorming topics and giving feedback on ideas.
… held an anonymous talk selection.
This was a very crucial part of our approach, because each proposed talk was being evaluated based on the title and abstract of the talk, but not on who submitted it.
Why? Well, we all have biases towards people because of internalized stereotypes. But instead of turning a blind eye to this fact, the anonymous talk selection is an easy way to hack that otherwise unfair system.
And the numbers prove that it works:
We received a total of 89 talk proposals, 14 submissions came from women. After a first round of voting where the talks had been rated on a scale from 1 to 10, and a second round with another rating on a 3-point scale (“Good”, “Yay!”, “MUST HAVE!”) we finally had a short list of 15 proposals: 7 of them submitted by women.
We then de-anonymized the process so we could judge based on speaker details, our budget and conference slots who we could manage to invite.
The final result? 11 exciting speakers, 5 of them female. So we almost reached gender parity at the first go, yay!
But here also comes the part where you come into play, dear Geekettes! So far the percentage of female attendees – solely judged by the first names – is below 15%. If you want to meet, hang out, and party with top-notch engineers, world-class speakers, great web designers and all kinds of people who care about CSS, here is your chance to win a free ticket! Just tweet us why at @berlingeekettes
The last CSSconf.eu tickets are still on sale and as a Geekette you get a 12.5% discount (just use the code GEEKETTES<3CSS).
Ask your boss to send you to CSSconf.eu! Or if you are the boss, send your female devs, engineers, designers to CSSconf.eu!
Either way, we are looking forward to seeing you at CSSconf.eu! Come join us in Berlin, September 13th!
- Anne Wizorek