“We will do our best”
The organisers of a European DevOps conference have vowed a more diverse speaker line-up in 2020, after coming under fire this year for fielding 48 male speakers – without a single female or non-binary speaker in sight.
The DevOps Pro 2020 runs in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius next March and is currently accepting paper submissions.
AWS’s Abby Fuller was among those noticing its 100 percent male line-up in 2019, noting “I see we’re still doing all-dude lineups”.
DevOps Pro: “We’re Fully Aware” of Issue
“I love when conferences make it so clearly apparent that they don’t consider anyone like me to be part of their community” she added on Twitter.
The conference is run by Lithuanian company Data Miner.
A DevOps Pro Europe spokesperson told Computer Business Review: “We see diversity as connected to our mission and critical to ensuring the well-being of our conference attendees, speakers and staff. We are fully aware of the lack of diversity at our previous conference. We are working on this issue.
They added: “We will do our best to have a more diverse line-up on DevOps Pro Europe 2020. No speakers are fully confirmed yet and we are looking forward to applications from all applicants (women especially).”
Of 60,000 Speakers, 69% Were Men Over 5 Years
DevOps Pro Europe’s organisers noted to us in an email that at its DevOps Pro Moscow event, starting in four days, four women will take the stage. (That Moscow event has listed 36 speakers, meaning 89 percent of speakers are still men).
A 2018 “Gender Diversity & Inclusion in Events Report” that analysed gender diversity of 60,000 event speakers over a five-year period, from 2013 to 2018 (spanning 23 countries) found that 69 percent of all speakers were male.
A call for papers for DevOps Pro 2020 is currently active and the organisation is encouraging women to apply. The call is open to submissions from: “DevOps, SecOps, Developers, IT Professionals, IT Managers, Consultants and especially those who would like to experience themselves as trainers.” It closes on the 5 of December.
Diversity and inclusion strategist Ruchika Tulshyan, writing in Harvard Business Review in September, lists some key strategies to improve conference diversity.
For speakers, she notes, try passing the baton…
“If you frequently get asked to speak and you identify as white and male, pay it forward by recommending a speaker from an underrepresented community. Understand that when people of color don’t see role models who look like us on stage, we’re less likely to nominate ourselves for those opportunities because they feel inaccessible.
“It’s important for people of color in the audience to see speakers who mirror their lives and experiences. When I get invited to speak at high-profile conferences, I negotiate my speaker fees to include a handful of complimentary conference tickets to be awarded to women of color I nominate to attend.”