* 'lesleyb' <email@example.com> [2013:08:19 21:45 +0100]: > Any attempt to rectify the situation in future DebConf's places a huge burden > on those women who are at a DebConf, where the program isn't finalised > beforehand, who suddenly get the proposal they should speak. If anything would > have me howling and hoping for the ground to open up and swallow me up, room > that might just about be the thing to do it. This is actually a good point -- there's a fine line between encouraging and putting people on the spot in a way that makes them uncomfortable in a bad way. That said, I think that many among us who became DDs were put on the spot in that way. "So when are you going to apply to NM?" is a question I got asked a *LOT*. I don't think it's wrong to push boundaries a little bit, but if everyone is "pushing boundaries a little bit" then it can quickly overload someone who just wants to meet cool Debian people. > I hate the fact we haven't got past the problem surrounding female speakers at > any conference let alone a DebConf. Aw, this is a bit pessimistic, don't you think? The conference problem hasn't been solved because it's a symptom of a larger, systemic problem. But I think a lot of headway has been made -- people are very aware of it as an issue, and a number of prominent (male) speakers are refusing to participate in panels that don't have women. For what it's worth, I have given a number of technical talks, but I have mostly stopped not because I am shy or new or afraid to give talks: I stopped because of the constant filming and not having a socially acceptable way to tell conference organizers that I didn't want them to videotape me. I guess I could have said "I don't want to be videotaped" and hoped they did not ask why, but if they did my answer would be "because men make gross comments about my appearance" and then it turns into an argument, probably. About how trolls online are this way, and shouldn't I be flattered, or whatever -- you know what I mean. To some extent I could probably get away with this, since my day job involves working on anonymity software, thus giving me a free pass to act as paranoid as I want, but not everyone is in the same position, yet they may wish for the same options. So my other recommendation to conference organizers is: make it explicit that speakers can opt out and give them some options: no recording at all, audio recording with slides, or video recording. I would even put it in a sign up form once their talk is confirmed so they do not have to talk to anyone to justify their decision. Plus, it's not like you need a harassment-related reason -- if you're giving your first talk ever, maybe you don't want it archived forever online in case it sucks. BTW next year is our 10 year anniversary. So I am fully on-board with a Debian Women Conf.
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