Conference speakers: Support anti-harassment policies in your speaker proposals

This post originally appeared on the Geek Feminism blog and is reposted here for posterity.

The 2012 proposal deadline is in a few hours, which gives you plenty of time to cut and paste the following into your speaker proposal:

I believe conferences should provide a safe, harassment-free environment for everyone. I ask $CONFERENCE to officially adopt and enforce a code of conduct or policy for attendee behavior that specifically forbids known problem behaviors such as pornography in public spaces, sexual harassment, and bullying.

If $CONFERENCE does not have a policy in place by the speaker notification deadline, I must regretfully decline any invitation to speak.

For more information, see:

Conferences value their speakers’ opinions greatly and listen when they speak. Donna Benjamin showed this when she organized a demonstration of support for a code of conduct at OSCON 2011; at least nine speakers in favor of the proposal edited their official OSCON speaker biographies to include a statement of support.

3 thoughts on “Conference speakers: Support anti-harassment policies in your speaker proposals

  1. An alternative, especially where the conference delegates talk selections to a subcommittee who may not have the power to make decisions about a policy, or who may not have heard anything about them, would be to submit normally, and separately mail the core organisers, or possibly the parent body. (This happens to be’s model exactly: Linux Australia is the parent body, they delegate the conference to a conference committee each year, who in turn delegate speaker selection to a subcommittee.)

  2. I’m not comfortable putting that statement in my talk proposal, but I did send an email to and Cc’d

    I just submitted a talk for LCA, but I wanted to check whether you were planning to have an anti-harassment policy, as LCA did last year? Having been harassed at other open source conferences in the past, I was especially looking forward to attending a conference that made it clear that such behaviour isn’t welcome. If you don’t plan to have any such policy, I will need to carefully consider whether I feel comfortable attending/speaking. I’d appreciate if you’d let me know as soon as is feasible, since if I have to withdraw my talk, I’d like to give the papers committee as much notice as possible.

    1. And, just got this back from them:

      There will most definitely be an anti-harassment policy in place for LCA2012. Linux Australia are currently working on this policy, and we hope to have it in place before the papers selection committee meet and registrations open. Any emails supporting this policy can be sent to, who are collating them on behalf of the Linux Australia council and LCA2012 core team.

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