How to attract more women to tech conferences

One of the best emails to get before a conference you’re psyched to attend is the one that outlines all the final details. It links to the final speakers’ schedule, reminds you of important things like where to park and when to check-in, and of course, that email tells you about the fun parties. That email revs you up and organizes you for the conference to come.

So when I opened up the “final details” email for the recent All Things Open conference in Raleigh, I was expecting to see an outline of the typical who, what, when, where info. I wasn’t expecting the first item to be a reminder of the conference’s anti/no harassment policy. But there it was—the first item on the list:

1. We want everyone to have a great time and we greatly value your attendance, however, be aware that we expect EVERYONE to abide by our anti/no harassment policy. In short, harassment of any type will not be tolerated for one second, and we will remove anyone guilty of it from the conference IMMEDIATELY and without a refund. Read the complete policy, as well as other terms, here – http://allthingsopen.org/terms.html.

Wow. As a woman who is certainly not down with harassment of any kind, my initial reaction was that of shock and gratitude.