A few weeks ago, I blogged about how widespread sexual harassment at open source conferences is and suggested that open source conference organizers should adopt an official policy taking a stand against all forms of harassment at their conferences. Easy, right?
It turns out that writing a practical and useful anti-harassment policy is a lot of hard work. I know because I spent the last three weeks writing one in collaboration with Esther Filderman, Beth Lynn Eicher, Mary Gardiner, Sarah Smith, Donna Benjamin, and many others. Our goal was to create a policy that could be easily customized and adapted to any open source, computing, or technology conference, and to collect useful resources for people considering adopting a policy. After long discussion with the organizers of many conferences and beta testing it with the generous help of OSDC, we made the first official public release of the policy on Tuesday.
To help raise awareness of the need for a policy, I interviewed nine women about their experiences at open sources conferences and wrote an article about them for Linux Weekly News. As usual, it’s subscriber-only for one week, but if you email me I will happily send you a free link.
If you would like to help make open source conferences more welcoming to women and people of all kinds, please consider blogging, twittering, or emailing the organizers of your favorite conference. This Geek Feminism blog post includes the contact email addresses for many popular open source conferences.
Finally, I want to say, holy crap, it’s hard to write about sexual harassment in public – and I’ve been doing it since I wrote HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux 8 years ago. If you do write a blog entry, send an email, or otherwise show public support for this cause, you have my heartfelt respect for your bravery. Thank you.