The worst thing you can do is find some random, underqualified person who represents the demographic you want to include, and put them on the stage. Although gender is often the issue we hear most about, the same applies to anyone who isn't a young, white male; it's just that gender is easier to see and talk about than either age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or anything else, and also since I'm a young, white female, it's the only aspect I can comment on.Women are in such a minority that they are, almost by definition, representative (see http://xkcd.com/385). Anyone who sees your randomly-selected woman speak will simply go away thinking that women aren't really good at speaking. Continue reading
The inscription reads:
In recognition of your extraordinary efforts
Although I took the photos of this outside, this item now has pride of place on my mantlepiece, where I can look at it and reflect on what a huge influence the PHPWomen have been, and continue to be, for me and so many others.
I was pleasantly surprised to note, then, that at the recent TEK-X conference, there was one slot where you could not AVOID seeing a female speaker. While Elizabeth Marie Smith delivered her slightly ranty "Cross Platform PHP", Ligaya Turmelle was sharing her wisdom in her session "Replication with MySQL", and in the remaining track there was a community roundtable, with my noble self on the panel! (OK so a panel is not a talk but hey, bear with me!)
I want to say thanks to TEK-X for being an amazing conference, to the community for being generally fabulous, and to the women in particular for being awesome beyond belief - this was a good day :)
If you're expecting something "Calendar Girls" then you'll be disappointed. We are all clothed in the pictures!
I won't share photos from the calendar itself, if you want to see those you can buy your own, but perhaps to give you a hint I'll share an outtake of myself:
I must confess that I was rather agitated when the photos were taken - as a woman in a male-dominated industry, the risk of being seen as just my physical appearance is ever-present, and I normally try hard at unremarkable, unrevealing clothes with very little makeup and a pair of jeans. Hanging out in the lobby at the hotel during a technical conference in that dress and those shoes was significantly more terrifying than delivering three sessions during my first trip to the US as a speaker (which, considering the problems I have with speaking nerves, is saying something). Even after I saw the photos I was kind of unhappy with the whole experience, although I loved the outtake linked above!
Fast forward 6 months and I had dinner with Derick Rethans, who took the photos in the calendar and arranged the printing, and he showed me the prototype he'd had printed. As I sat and turned the pages, I started to understand why this is so important. The women in these photos are some of the leading lights in the community - respected developers, some of them core developers, key community people, and speakers. Yet I saw them as the women they are ... and suddenly remembered that actually, it's acceptable to be both smart AND beautiful.
So - get your calendar and remember all year that beauties can also be geeks! 10% of every purchase goes to PHPWomen, and we will use those funds to support our women and grow more leading lights like these.
So, with great excitement I ordered my new phpwomen shirt (in girl fit!) - and here it is:
Note: This is the large size ... I'm not small but I'm not really that large either so order a bigger size if you are ordering the girl fit shirts.
So, what are you waiting for? Head over to the announcement post and follow the links to order your shirt and support the organisation - just in time for the autumn conference season!
For everything else, see the zendcon photos on flickr! http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/zendcon08