[Conferences] Statistics of all Python conferences

Jeff Rush jeff at taupro.com
Mon Nov 1 12:53:37 CET 2010

On 10/31/2010 05:45 AM, ॥ स्वक्ष ॥  wrote:
> Hello,
> On Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 17:58, Mike Müller <mmueller at python-academy.de> wrote:
>> # The percentage of women was about 10% this unusually high
>> # for this kind of conference.
> Honestly, this statistic makes me uncomfortable, for a number of
> reasons. I'm involved with a number of women-in-floss projects and the
> pressure to stand up and be visible or be counted is immense <-- this
> makes it hard on those that dont seek attention because of their
> gender. While I am aware that diversity matters and its important to
> get that data out there, but, with all due respect, there is the risk
> of being reduced to a mere statistic, when your presence is mere
> tokenism for being politically correct** and nothing beyond that.

Yes, the PSF/PyCon leadership in general would like to know how we are
doing with respect to diversity matters.  It is a serious issue that
certain demographic sectors are not represented in technology
development today.  We can make changes in our community and hope it
improves matters but unless the shift is significant in the short-term,
it won't be obvious related and hence useful in guiding policy.  It is
hard to see in the data something like a 3% variation in attendance over
several years without actually measuring, while a major shift in looking
around PyCon to see 30-50% faces of women would not need measuring.

So as a PSF board member myself, I acknowledge your concern but ask you
how we can be sensitive to those who wish to avoid attention and yet
move forward with gains in their representation without some kind of
measurement?  To guide those decisions we don't have to know the data
trackable back to an individual but really just in aggregate.

As a sidenote (and perhaps a thread for the diversity list), I am
wondering how someone who avoids attention will be able to fully
participate in FLOSS.  Anyone who raises a constituency calling for or
staffing a team for a new software feature, or who calls for a fork of a
software project by their nature draws some degree of attention.  Being
a meritocracy, FLOSS seems to require its members to rise above the
noise within some subset of the community.

> ** Recently for inpycon registrations, it was impossible to register
> and pay with doattend without doling out a bunch of irrelevant details
> (gender, location, etc). IME, pycon does not insist on knowing your
> gender and upon raising the issue on the inpycon list, I was told its
> something the PSF does. I am not aware if its a PSF mandate but I
> would like to know if it is.

Not a hard mandate but information considered useful in providing better
service to the Python community.  I believe the inpycon registration
forms were derived from those for PyCon USA, which did ask for gender,
T-shirt type/size, location, etc.  By knowing the location of attendees
we can foster people making connections into local usergroups and
regional conferences, and better place the next national conference.  By
knowing we are reaching women in college but not women in business, we
know we're not advertising the conference in the correct places.
Noticing that our attendees tend to be older, we learn that we have a
problem in spreading Python to those in college or high schools.


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