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Platitudes are cheap. We’ve all heard services say they’re committed to “diversity” and “tolerance” without ever getting specific, so here’s our stance on it:

We welcome you.

We welcome people of any gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, size, nationality, sexual orientation, ability level, neurotype, religion, elder status, family structure, culture, subculture, political opinion, identity, and self-identification. We welcome activists, artists, bloggers, crafters, dilettantes, musicians, photographers, readers, writers, ordinary people, extraordinary people, and everyone in between. We welcome people who want to change the world, people who want to keep in touch with friends, people who want to make great art, and people who just need a break after work. We welcome fans, geeks, and nerds.  We welcome you no matter if the Internet was a household word by the time you started secondary school or whether you were already retired by the time the World Wide Web was invented.

We welcome you. You may wear a baby sling, hijab, a kippah, leather, piercings, a pentacle, a political badge, a rainbow, a rosary, tattoos, or something we can only dream of. You may carry a guitar or knitting needles or a sketchbook. Conservative or liberal, libertarian or socialist — we believe it’s possible for people of all viewpoints and persuasions to come together and learn from each other. We believe in the broad spectrum of individual and collective experience and in the inherent dignity of all people. We believe that amazing things come when people from different worlds and world-views approach each other to create a conversation.

We get excited about creativity — from pro to amateur, from novels to haiku, from the photographer who’s been doing this for decades to the person who just picked up a sketchbook last week. We support maximum freedom of creative expression, within the few restrictions we need to keep the service viable for other users. We’re serious about knowing and protecting your rights when it comes to free expression and privacy. We will never put a limit on your creativity just because it makes someone uncomfortable — even if that someone is us.

We think accessibility for people with disabilities is a priority, not an afterthought. We think neurodiversity is a feature, not a bug. We believe in being inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of anyone who comes to us with good faith and the desire to build a community.

We have enough experience to know that we won’t get any of this perfect on the first try. But we have enough hope, energy, and idealism to want to learn things we don’t know now. We may not be able to satisfy everyone, but we can certainly work to avoid offending anyone. And we promise that if we get it wrong, we’ll listen carefully and respectfully to you when you point it out to us, and we’ll do our best to make good on our mistakes.

We think our technical and business experience is important, but we think our community experience is more important. We know what goes wrong when companies say one thing and do another, or when they refuse to say anything at all. We believe that keeping our operations transparent is just as important as keeping our servers stable.

We use the service we’re selling, and we built it because we wanted it ourselves. We won’t treat people as second-class undesirables because they’re non-mainstream or might frighten advertisers. We don’t have advertisers to frighten. To us, you’re not eyeballs. You’re not page views. You’re not demographic groups. You’re people.

Come dream with us.


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Diversity Policy © 2009-2013 Dreamwidth Studios, LLC.



Why aren’t there more female speakers at YOW! Conferences?

The YOW! International Program Committee advocates for increased female participation and makes a concerted effort to invite top female international experts to speak at YOW!/GOTO conferences. Unfortunately, female software experts, especially in many topic areas, are in short supply.

Additionally, some who are interested in speaking simply cannot take 2 weeks out of their schedule (for business or personal reasons) to travel to Asia/Australia for the YOW! conferences.

Our female Program Committee members and speakers have strongly recommended against the use of a quota as a means for increasing participation.

What do you do to encourage diversity?

We undertake a number of activities to make all people feel welcome at our Conferences like:

  • Code of Conduct – Attendees at all YOW! events are required to follow our published Code of Conduct.
  • Student Volunteers – Each year we have 60+ student volunteers across our cities from local universities who in return for a few hours of conference assistance get to attend both the conferences as well as workshops. As part of the program, we encourage all to participate and propose talks.
  • Clothing – our conference shirts are available in cuts to suit different body shapes in a wide range of sizes
  • Dietary needs – we cater for a range of dietary requirements at our Conferences and Workshops
  • Opening Address sets tone for event – in the opening address at each YOW! Conference, we encourage respect and diversity towards other attendees and speakers
  • Speaker Suggestions – anyone can recommend a speaker for consideration by the international Program Committee and people can nominate themselves as potential speakers. Click here to read more about our selection process.
  • Diversity Scholarships – To increase diversity at our Australian YOW! developer events we offer a limited number of scholarships to people from underrepresented groups in tech who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend.  More details available here.

If you have suggestions on what else we could be doing to be more inclusive then we welcome any ideas and advice you may have. Click here to email us

What does YOW! do to encourage female participation?
Encouraging more women in ICT is something that we are passionate about at YOW!. The following are some of the things we are and have been doing:

  • Female Focused Events – We have, where possible, worked with Australian user groups such as Girl Geek Dinners and Lambda Ladies.
  • Female Speaker Exchange – YOW! and GOTO Conferences have been working on a program to support a female speaker exchange between Australia and Denmark which would include speaker training and a slot at YOW! and GOTO respectively. The concern of our female Program Committee members is that the speaker must be good or else it looks like a quota.
  • Alliances – We have been working with a number of our partners and user groups to encourage new speakers, provide personal mentoring and support and encourage female participation. We also have close relationships with NICTA and QUT who both have active programs to encourage more females to enter Computer Science and Information Technology.
  • Support – We have supported local events such as Rails Girls and Brisbane Coderdojo for students.
  • New Voices in Tech – We run an annual program to encourage more female developers to become speakers.  Those shortlisted as part of the competition are invited to attend a full day speaker training workshop run by Damian Conway and potentially an opportunity to showcase their talents by speaking at a YOW! event.  More details available here.

Although we recognise that increasing female participation in ICT is a broader issue affecting the future of the industry as is the declining numbers of total students studying ICT at universities, we welcome suggestions on what else we can do to encourage more participation. Contact us here if you have any ideas you’d like to share.