A Conference With a Diversity Statement: Web 2.0 Summit

Wow, just saw this (brought to my attention by Lucretia Pruitt). The Web 2.0 Summit┬áhas a very explicit statement about diversity on it’s website:

Federated Media, O’Reilly Media and UBM TechWeb believe in spreading the knowledge of innovators. We believe that innovation is enhanced by a variety of perspectives, and our goal is to create an inclusive, respectful conference environment that invites participation from people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, religions, and sexual orientations.

We’re actively seeking to increase the diversity of our attendees, speakers, and sponsors through our calls for proposals, other open submission processes, and through dialogue with the larger communities we serve.

This is an ongoing process. We are talking to our program chairs, program committees, and various innovators, experts, and organizations about this goal and about ways they can help us achieve it.

Check out the actual steps they suggest to achieve this aim.

This is phenomenal.

I know that there was a verbally spoken diversity statement last year (I believe Shireen Mitchell was part of that conversation) made by O’Reilly and rumor had it, the directive came from Tim O’Reilly himself. Yet when I had a heated discussion with someone from Web 2.0 Expo, I was given the usual excuse of “we just couldn’t find any women qualified to speak” when I pointed out the continued lack of diversity at Web 2.0 Expo (even as I was totally grateful to be given my first opportunity to speak there).

It is amazing to watch the folks at Blogworld take actions toward diversity and then see O’Reilly put it into words. What next? Actual diversity in the presenters at these influential tech conferences and other conferences following suit?

Wow! What a concept.

What other conferences are you aware of that are actively paying attention to their speaker diversity?

Nice to See Gender Diversity in a Speaker List

Am really pleased to see the mix of speakers coming to Blogworld East in New York City. Men…AND women. It just feels balanced and representative of the population at large.

Not to diminish this incredible progress – AND a very active effort on the part of the folks at Blogworld – but there is another next step to take:

More diversity of color.

Keep on keeping on.

Do you feel represented when you look at speaker lists at top business, technology and venture conferences? If not, what are you doing about it?