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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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[ Thanks to Asheesh Laroia for this link. ]

"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."

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