Monthly Archives: April 2007

Women in web design: just the stats

(recovered post)

Jeffrey Zeldman Presents : Women in web design: just the stats
So An Event Apart commissioned a fact-finding mission. We hired researchers at The New York Public Library to find out everything that is actually known about the percentage of women in our field, and their positions relative to their male colleagues.

Jeffrey Zeldman combines my two favorite things – tech and libraries! The results of the research done by the NYPL, though, are not among my favorite things. I knew I didn’t see a lot of females at the various “techie” conferences I’ve been to, but this is ridiculous! (This has actually been a bonus for me in the past – I generally don’t have to share a room when I go to these conferences, I’m the only woman from my organization who is going…).
One of the most unpleasant facts that the researchers found is that, “The percentage of women employed in the field is declining instead of growing.” – this is not a good trend! I’m not sure what the solution is to this – more “mentoring” programs, more female-focused “tracks” at conferences (though what that would involve is beyond me – us girls are pretty diverse and hard to pin down…), more female-based webby organizations? These are all possibilities – and some of them exist. I know of a group of women who focus on PHP (PHPWomen), but it doesn’t seem to be particularly busy or focused. There was a push a while back to get more women presenting at tech conferences – if other women see that there are female presenters, they may be more inclined to attend these conferences – but that seems to have died off a bit.
I don’t know what the answer to the declining rates of women (and their prospects) in the web fields might be, but I do know that women can bring a lot to the “table”, so to speak, and that without the unique perspective of the female brain, the web professions will be worse off.

Blogging a Conference

(recovered post)

I’ve done quite a bit in the way of Blogging Conferences that I’ve attended, and I have to agree with Nicole of “What I Learned Today” in her recent post on Blogging a Conference. She’s responding to another person who says that bloggers who are taking notes for public consumption at conferences tend to pay more attention and take better notes. I couldn’t agree more. The last IUG conference I went to, I had to write up an “after-the-conference” report as a condition of a grant given to us to help cover the costs of the conference. Blogging the conference, then taking my blog notes and basically cutting and pasting them into the report made that process MUCH easier. Not to mention the fact that staffers who couldn’t go to the conference were reading and responding (sometimes with questions for us to get answers to) to our posts. That was, quite simply, the easiest way to get the information we were receiving from the conference to our co-workers – and it discouraged us from deciding that the weather in San Francisco was too nice to sit inside all day and skip out. We were accountable!! I wasn’t as accountable in Boston, for the XML conference I went to a few months ago, though, and I ended up skipping out on the last day pretty much altogether. That was ok, though, because the conference was free (I presented) and I wasn’t reporting to anyone about it…
Knowing that your words are being consumed by the public – however limited that public might be (hi Tab!) – makes you think about what you are jotting down in your notes and pay attention to all of the information being presented at the conference – not just what that crazy lady in front of you has done with her hair!