Diversity and outreach: How RailsBridge inspired the OpenHatch event series
Jun 27, 2011, 19:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Asheesh)
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"I believe that in-person programming meet-up events are
structurally similar to free software projects: both are totally
open, in theory, to anyone who shows up; both usually have
appallingly bad diversity characteristics; both are communities
where over time, attendees form bonds of friendship; both are
highly visible and yet comprised of a small number of people.
Finally, in both, attendees often invite their friends to join. So
when thinking about how to grow and diversify free software
communities, the success of RailsBridge deserves a solid look.
"In the case of RailsBridge, over 2009, about 180 people
attended workshops; by the end of the year, the meet-up had grew
from about two women in attendance to about 18.
"Even though they only retained 10%, Sarah and Sarah succeeded
at the stated goal: to improve gender diversify at the Ruby
meet-up. Because so many attendees came, they needed to retain only
small fraction to make the leap from 2% to 18% diversity-wise. By
casting a wide net, and limiting the time investment of teachers to
a short event, the RailsBridge organizers are achieving their goals
without massive burnout."