GORUCO and gender diversity

Posted August 17 2012 by Francis Hwang

It's an old story: The tech scene has a gender problem. And unfortunately, GORUCO isn't much different than other tech conferences in this respect. When we announced our speakers for GORUCO 2012, we and others couldn't help but notice an unfortunate imbalance: 13 speakers, all of them men.

For all the aspects of GORUCO that we’re proud of, we know we can be doing more to address gender diversity. So after the dust settled from this year's conference, we decided to reach out for help from some of our friends in the community.

While we don't have much to announce yet, we have started the conversation internally, and wanted to bring that conversation out in the open to be completely transparent about what it is we're doing to address this for GORUCO 2013.

Transparency about numbers

We decided we could be more open about our numbers, to give other people a better view into the specifics of the problem. Below are the statistics for GORUCO 2012–keep in mind that we guessed the number of women proposers and attendees based on people’s first names.

All Women
Speakers 13 0
Proposers 47 0
Attendees 300 16

We'll be keeping those numbers up-to-date for future years. We are confident that we can move these ratios in the right direction.

Advisory board

Along with DevChix and NYC Ruby Women, we co-hosted a small group discussion about what we could be doing to address this issue. And in the interests of keeping that discussion going, we decided to form what we're calling the GORUCO Advisory Board. We're hoping it'll be a useful way for us GORUCO organizers to keep talking about the specifics of this issue, both online and face-to-face.

This is an invite-only group. You can request to join on the Google Group: please send us a message introducing yourself and how you’re involved with Ruby in NYC.

Next steps

We’ll be taking more steps as we begin our planning process for 2013 and have the time to process other suggestions.

Generally, we acknowledge that a lack of gender diversity is a problem, and we will be working with a number of communities to find ways to address it. We’re optimistic we can improve the situation. Watch this space.