More women, please

A few months ago I attended A Responsive Day Out, a fantastic conference in Brighton about, indeed, responsive web design. All talks were just 20 minutes long, which forces the speakers to leave out the small talk and get on with it. And this resulted in a fantastic overload of information. And all talks — as one can expect from a Clearleft conference — were fantastic.

But the length of the talks isn’t the only thing I liked so much about this conference: the majority of speakers were women. This gave me the impression that there’s a very active female web community in the UK. I’m not sure if this is true, but I can imagine that that idea alone is nice for young (female) designers and developers who are thinking about where to start a career.

About 50% of my students are women. But just a small part of them want to become front-end developers or front-end designers. Which is a real pity, since there’s a lot of talent in my classes. Talent that goes missing. I think that if we have more role models in conferences, or in the classroom, we’ll see more women pursuing a career on the web. And we need all the talent we can get. You can understand how happy we are to have Michèle teaching a few classes with us this semester.

Sometimes I hear conference organisers complaining that it’s hard to find good female speakers. They should take a look at Yes Equal, a database with female designers and developers who speak. And they should also bookmark this tweet by Andy Bud with its many, many replies. A fantastic resource as well.