On Sat, Aug 11, 2018 at 12:35 PM, Jonathan Moules
Glass-half-full observation: In a topic talking about the FOSS4G Asia
diversity, no-one has commented on the commendable range of racial diversity
in those keynotes.
As to gender in keynotes, a Devils Advocate would point out there is no
gender diversity in the 2018 Dar es Salaam keynote speakers either (assuming
the four on the 2018.foss4g.org front page) - they're also all the same
gender. Except that given the gender disparity in this field, it seems
reasonable to me to conclude that Dar have probably done this intentionally
whereas Asia's seems statistically plausible without even needing to factor
in unconscious biases.
Once we have a 50% of speakers that are women (even 40%), we can start
saying that having a full keynoter line of women speakers is no
diversity. Up till then, having all women as keynoters is not a
diversity issue, but an effort to try to promote gender diversity and
balance with the rest of speakers. Or... maybe the keynoters were good
on their own? Beware of thinking that chosen woman speakers are there
only because of quotas.
That's why I said we still have to check about percentages considering
the full program. But as a starter, having a full male line of
speakers is not a good sign. Statistics is only an excuse. I can
understand that this can be something the organization didn't have in
mind and, as they are volunteers, they have limited effort to spend on
the organization of the conference and gender diversity was not on
their priorities. As said, it is a subject difficult to approach and
it is no good to try to fix it in a rush because you may end up doing
more harm than you expected.
For me, saying you are only seeing the glass half full is like saying
"we have done enough, don't press more". While I think we should press
much more! We already know the conference is going to have a lot of
outstanding talks, the discussion here is where is the visibility for
woman. I don't think any of us is demeaning the speakers lineup, we
are just pointing to a real current problem we (all) have.
And what of diversity of age? I'm fairly confident in guessing that the Asia
keynotes are all 40s-50s. I'm less confident guessing Dar's, but I'd say in
their 20's to 30's.
I agree that age diversity is another concern. And also having always
the same "token" person talking. The classy "haha, I found a woman or
a poc that gives good talks, let's put her everywhere!". Nope.
But still, age diversity is something that gives everyone equal trait
at some point because everyone reaches the "good" range of ages at
some point of their lives. So, even if it is something we can improve,
it is a problem way behind of the gender diversity problem, where some
people just don't have an oportunity ever.
Definition (from the OED):
Diverse (Adj), "Showing a great deal of variety; very different."
By that definition, neither have gender diversity, both have racial
diversity (Asia's more-so), and both have little age diversity.
So this means we are doing very good in racial diversity this year,
but falling behind on gender diversity on regional events. Let's see
if we can keep up on racial diversity next year for the main
conference and improve gender diversity in regional events? As said,
this is a long-distance race. It is not very helpful if we have a good
racial diversity this year but forget about them in the following
Also, good time to remind amazing work of TGP for bringing economic
diversity to FOSS4G (which is another huge concern).
On 2018-08-09 10:43, María Arias de Reyna wrote:
I agree this is a good topic to bring into the open, and not an easy
one. For what I have seen, FOSS4G Asia organization is doing a good
job, this is just a hard subject to address. Even if that keynote
lineup was full of women (like in main FOSS4G!) we still have to check
about the rest of speakers and the attendees. But you are right,
adding at least one woman keynoter can make a difference.
For those of you who may be reading this and need some context, this
is a long-distance race, not a sprint. Reaching outside your comfort
zone networks (usually mostly male contacts in the case of male
developers) to get more women speakers is not something you can do on
a blink. Specially if the organizers didn't have the problem in mind
when the organization started. We usually say that if you start
worrying about diversity after you choose the venue, you are already
I will be in FOSS4G Asia and I hope to get in contact with the
organization to know about their idiosyncrasy, their worries and their
challenges. Trying to help from here is difficult, as my networks are
mostly european and american. But still, we can work together in
strategies and how to improve diversity. I am going to give a talk
with Malena on Tanzania about general strategies and how to work on
improving diversity and my plan is to write down later whatever comes
from that conversation so we have some guidelines or good practices
that any OSGeo event can use.
Maybe it is time we renew the woman@osgeo mailing list to join forces?
On Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 12:25 AM, Jody Garnett <jody.garn...@gmail.com>
Hey Mark, good on you for voicing publicly. Our ability to discuss openly is
a strength of our community, and one we are learning to use responsibly. I
saw your tweet yesterday, but find the discussion list more useful for
internal discussion such as this.
It is a hard balance between requesting or encouraging changes we want to
see vs expressing dissapointment in the activities of others. This is
especially important in a volunteer organization such as ours where
disappointment however kindly expressed can hit really moral hard
(especially as volunteers are pulling an event together).
I have been on both sides of this balance and it is never comfortable, as
you express in your struggle above. Ideally, I seek to offer my time if I am
in position to be of assistance and if the assistance is welcome. If not in
a position to help I seek to learn or look for an opportunity for feedback.
I learned a lot as your foss4g event planning has unfolded and your
challenges, priorities and direction became clear.
It is my hope that we will learn what challenges the foss4g-asia event is
facing and what we as an organization can do to assist.
If you have been following the board meetings the Sri Lanka chapter is just
being officially recognized (and the membership shows some diversity). OSGeo
has also set aside funding for our president to attend the foss4g-asia
On Wed, 8 Aug 2018 at 14:53, Mark Iliffe <markili...@gmail.com> wrote:
I’ve really agonised over whether to send this email. First of which,
being the imminent final preparations for FOSS4G taking up a lot of time,
but also whether it’s appropriate for me in my role of chair of FOOS4G to
offer public critique of regional events. It is in this vein that I’d like
to really stress that I’m writing this as an OSSGeo charter member.
When I first saw this, my heart sank:
Where is the gender diversity in the line up? I know that organising a
FOSS4G is really difficult, but we need to be reaching far and wide and that
starts with our keynotes. Potentially I’m missing something here - and I
probably am, if so I am sorry if this is the case! - but can we have a
rethink of the line up to really represent our community?
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