The Diverse People of PyCon UK

2015-09-24

I met the Irish, the Greeks. I met the Django Girls, the Trans*Coders, the Posters. I met the teachers, the testers, the gamers. I met old friends, I tended acquaintances hoping to grow them into friendships, and I made new friends.

Diversity is good.

Stickers!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have a diversity problem. By “we” I mean the programming community. One could spend an entire career and meet only white middle class straight cis men. If you have the opportunity, try and avoid that.

To quote Rachel Evans summarising the PyCon UK attendance: 300 delegates on the main track, 55 Django Girls and TransCode, 30 scientists, 40 teachers, and 100 children; 20% women.

I’m glad someone is watching (and I would encourage the newly formed PyCon UK Committee to appoint a diversity officer, to watch on a formal basis). And I’m pretty sure that Rachel is right, this is better than many parts of the tech sector. My own experience is that professional interactions are > 95% with other men. And of course gender is just one small aspect of diversity, and male/female is just one aspect of gender. So, the non-white, the trans, the gay, all under-represented.

That is why I agree with Rachel that there is still room for improvement, and that Belinda Parmar is right to point out that it’s another dude fest. I was in that hall and it certainly had more “dudes” than the morning before when the ranks of dudes were swelled by our allies Trans*Code, Django Girls, and teachers. On a positive note, the dudes have turned up to see one the the Django Girl organisers, @helenst, present her experiences on Managing Mocks.

Daniele Procida’s keynote was about how in the Open Source world power is left lying around for the taking. Whom you pay attention to is a small example of that power. Stop going to talks by white middle class straight cis men, stop reading my blog, and start paying attention to the diversity that your community already has. Foster it. Fund it. And don’t worry, the poor downtrodden white cis man will still have plenty of opportunity to give talks and plenty of people listening to them.

I think PyCon UK is doing great. I went to see the science track, the education track, Trans*code, DjangoGirls. And once I’d done that, the so called “main” conference didn’t seem so main any more.

One Response to “The Diverse People of PyCon UK”

  1. drj11 Says:

    kitation has also been writing about diversity, and it’s a great blog post: http://www.kitation.co.uk/2015/09/21/pycon-uk-2015.html


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