More Women to Speak at Dev Conferences?
Why do we have so few female speakers at IT conferences? I’m not talking about SEO / Social Media / UX conferences. I’m talking about hard-core programming conferences. I have been organizing conferences since 2006 and no matter how hard I tried, I ended up with nearly no proposals from women.
It starts with the lack of females in this field. Prejudice or discrimination don’t prevent women from choosing IT, but they can certainly make life hard. These problems exist in every field though.
The real issue, in my opinion, comes from how parents stimulate their kids. We buy Tonkas and Legos for our boys, Barbies and winged ponies for our girls. If the girl never developed her spatial-temporal reasoning because she didn’t have the right tools, then she will have a hard time with software analysis and design. She will probably not be attracted to it at all.
Don’t most girls dream of being a doctor or a teacher? They were caring for dolls all their childhood. Don’t all boys dream of being a detective or an astronaut? They were building spaceships with their Lego. They were certainly not discriminated into choosing these fields at the age of 5.
I see a simple and lasting solution: stimulate both genders with the full range of toys early on (as soon as they are born). I had all kinds of toys in my youth, and so was not stuck in a limited range of possible careers. I chose programming when I was 11 and I still love it. That didn’t prevent me from having a keen interest in health, psychology and child education either.
Do you have other solutions?