Changing the ratio: we won’t stop until we change the ratio.

Seriously. I know. It is a million times better to be starting and running a software company then talking about women in technology. Totally agreed! Speaking like someone who actually loves running her software firm! But… that said, it is hard not to point out where things can be improved in my community. And to be told to just shut up, well that’s a bit rude don’t you think?

So what’s all the fuss about? Confoo which bills itself as bringing under one roof PHP Québec, Montréal-Python, Montreal.rb, Montreal Jug, W3Qc, OWASP Montréal, Android Montreal and local web developers. Confoo has 109 speakers in total. 5 of them are women. 5. It is not a typo. Earlier in the day they had 105 speakers.

This is not the first year of the conference, nor the first time, the community has pointed out the lack of women: same ratio for 2011, and 2010.

Now: what I would really like to do is open a dialog and see how our community can help confoo, because it obviously needs the help and because we care. But first, we need to have a dialog:

Because you know, pointing out an issue makes me a sexist, closed minded and disrespectful person.

Oh yeah, now we are really talking about the issue at hand. My followers are thoroughly impressed. But perhaps not what was intended!

It never hurts to restate the obvious.

Unless of course …

Well, if by IT feminist crusaders Ms. Anna Filina is referring to CEOs of software firms and founders, then I am guilty, and if by IT we are talking about the software industry, then guilty again! Darn you got me!

But seriously: let’s grab a coffee and talk about how we can change the ratio. And no, it has nothing to do with the toys you play with when you are a child. There are so many awesome people working at changing the ratio (and running software firms) and all we need is first a dialog, then an action plan. Let’s talk. Let’s change. And let’s not call each other names. That’s just not NICE and the internet is so all kinds of nice. kthxbai!

Sorry, got to get back to running a software firm.


  1. Anna Filina

    I love how you strategically chose to exclude your most important tweet from this post. What you try to disguise as a conversation opened with a swinging bat. Happy trolling!

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  3. Rebecca

    My experience is that organizers of events are extremely defensive about this issue. It makes sense, of course, as they have put their time and energy into something that takes a lot of planning, but you have to be open to feedback and take the higher road. I don’t consider your tweets “trolling” at all, however, and find Anna’s reaction very odd. If we could all talk about this issue without getting feelings hurt, everyone would be much better off.

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  5. Marc

    By “non-sexist, open minded and respectful people”, Anna really meant to say “porn site operators”. That is, of course, what two of ConFoo’s sponsors are.

    I find it odd that Anna would defend her porn-loving conference as being non-sexist when the porn industry has a long history of objectifying women.

    We can argue back and forth about porn’s place in the tech industry, but the truth is that a porn-sponsored conference is always going to be overtly hostile towards women.

    This isn’t rocket science here. Build an environment that’s less hostile towards women, and then more women will participate. Anna and the ConFoo organizers don’t seem to understand that.

  6. Wil Moore III

    This entire conversation is funny because the fact is, Confoo 2012’s lineup was completely community driven. The talks were voted on and those with compelling topics and descriptions were voted up. See for yourself:

    This is to say that, before pointing fingers, we should really be doing our homework. It’s fine that the top of low # of women (and other under represented cultures) was brought up, but it isn’t cool to point fingers to those that don’t deserve the blame.

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