The Joomla! Community Magazine™

The X Factor and Women in Joomla!

Written by | Saturday, 01 December 2012 22:47 | Published in 2012 December
Conference attendance statistics showed that we had 23% women at the first Joomla World Conference. We need to raise that number, not only for the next JWC, but for all of our events! 
The X Factor and Women in Joomla! Jimmy Ko - artbackr.com "Connecting artists to possibilities."

In this day and age, women in tech is not a given – it should be a given, but it isn't... the numbers just aren't there.

Women need to have a more vocal and prominent place on the tech stage. Given that we have the edge in the overall population by a few percentage points, how is it that we are a minority in the tech field?

Here are a few questions to the community:

Please comment and let us know how we can help open the playing field and be more inclusive of women. Your honesty is appreciated.

  • Is there anything that holds you back from attending, or speaking at a Joomla event?
  • Is there anything that prevents you from becoming more involved in the Joomla community?
  • What can Joomla Leadership do to promote more women in Joomla?

Let's be vocal and move Joomla into the forefront of real equality.

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Tagged under Feature Stories, English
Dianne Henning

Dianne Henning

Joomla enthusiast and web developer, Co-Lead Editor of the Joomla Commuity Magazine, former OSM Board Member, and Joomla event organizer. Say hello if you see me at a Joomla event! 

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I have not seen a female keynote at a Joomla event....yet. My goal this year, is to make sure one of our lovely keynote speakers is a female. (any volunteers?)

I loved Steve Burge's session on The Joomla Family Tree
I would love to extend that survey! What female inspired you.....
For Me, Toni Marie Swats, she was awesome at jday Vegas!

If all else fails - we could kidnap & blindfold Wordpress & Concrete 5 ladies, then surprise them with with the coolest CMS & Event ever:)
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This is a great article! I definitely wish more women, whether they are developers or non developers, knew about what Joomla! is all about. If they realized how easy it is to learn a content management system as well as knew how wonderful our community was, they would jump right in head first! :-)

If you are reading this article and interested in learning about Joomla! and why you should use it, and what it is about, please contact me on skype and I would love to talk website with you! skype: tessa.mero
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Remember the sign on the Little Rascals clubhouse "He-man Woman Haters Club -- NO GIRLS ALLOWED"?

Tech hasn't always been the friendliest place for women, much like the Rascal's clubhouse. IMHO there's no issue if you can be pigeonholed as a "designer" because that's what women do, right? We make pretty stuff. But when you start mixing it up in discussions about coding and security the Good 'ol Boy syndrome creeps in and it can get brutal.
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love these your courage words Dianne . For this question "What can Joomla Leadership do to promote more women in Joomla? "I would like to request for "Training,session,workshop and things same like Female meet up via in person or online conferencing". As compare as My (Myanmar) community and culture ,women shy to speak out in public and afraid criticize.I was used to talk about Joomla since 2008 anywhere event I was attend. Got lot of feedback,conversation,discuss with mostly men not too much women.They need how to communicate in public and how to speak out.That's all my experiences from my community.
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I would like to request for "Training,session,workshop and things same like Female meet up via in person or online conferencing.
Chit, I love that idea! I'd also love to connect jess.dunbar (skype)

You discuss your culture and women being shy to speak out. I have also found that in some cultures women are not allowed to work in tech areas. Ladies are expected to only focus in administrative rolls. Do you find this to be true in some cultures?

Oh! JWC could easily be rebranded to Joomla Woman’s Conference! /joke
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Chit, I know you have been a strong voice in the Mozilla community, and I understand that culture may have something to do with not being as present as one can be. It is a global change that needs to happen. How can the entire Open Source community work together to promote women? Ideas welcome!
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@Dianne Great piece. We have a long way to go even compared to some projects we do pretty well.

github.com/joomla/joomla-platform/graphs/contributors
5 out of 96 by my count.

@Jess The keynote issue is interesting. I have actually keynoted twice at Joomla Days, once as a fill-in at the dev day in NY and one in Chicago. Neither time was a high visibility slot though.

Maybe at the next JWC or JAB there will be a high visibility speaker in a skirt who isn't a Scot.
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@Cindy @Dianne Cindy, you totally hit the nail on the head with your comment. This is exactly why I have steered clear of the politics and the local meet ups. Personally my business has been attacked online and in print, on one or more occasions by an unnamed "local meet up" organizers company, and other competition. It is a good 'ol boys club, who would want to attend and be roasted by the same person who is the founder of one of the companies that published one of these attacks? Competition is what makes us strive to do our best, it is healthy, and it does not have to be competition, it can be collaboration. It is supposed to be a "community". I had an unbelievable experience the other day that only enforced my reasons for not trying to contribute more...... Volunteered, welcomed by a few, waited on Skype for 2 hours out of my busy day and was totally shut out of the conversation. Sad, this is the problem as I see it.

I believe we should start a women's group with an emphasis on the design aspect. As Joomla is the "whole package" to have a successful impressive site, it must be built on the best platform in the world Joomla, and just as importantly to make the project successful is design. You can have the most beefed up performance car under the hood, but to the public if it is not visually appealing it would be a hard sell.

I truly believe we should start a positive group of women interested in Joomla, where the ego's do not get in the way, it would be good for networking and collaborations on projects. These are my humble opinions, but this is why I do not actively participate, but would love to. Ladies let's do it!
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[ I have actually keynoted twice at Joomla Days, once as a fill-in at the dev day in NY and one in Chicago. Neither time was a high visibility slot though.
We should change that!
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I don't have much to value to add to the debate right now, I would just like to say "Hi!" I am from South Africa, and have been working with Joomla for about 4 years now. I was a graphic designer with limited html web development knowledge when I started out my Joomla Journey. Now, so much more than just a designer ;)
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Hi Karin,

It is great to hear from you!! I hope you are involved with your local JUG! Thanks for saying, "Hi!"
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I think there needs to be more general involvement at grass-roots level (e.g. school, college and university) in technology generally and web design specifically to show that there are opportunities out there for women in the Open Source world.

Young women need (in my opinion) role models, they need to be able to see that coding takes intelligence, logic, creative thinking and can be pretty cool. Also that website design is more than mucking about with static sites in Dreamweaver or heaven forbid Frontpage (still used in many schools who don't even touch on content management systems), and the wide range of areas that could have input into open source projects in general - for example, languages, journalism, marketing & PR, leadership, law, the list is endless.

Also contributing to a project like Joomla! can be exciting and can open many doors from a young age if you're willing to get involved or are presented with the opportunities.

I agree that we need to promote keynote speakers from both genders, but personally I would rather focus on having good keynote speakers and not get preoccupied with their gender. There is no point forcing someone into a keynote position if they're not ready for it, and there's no point trying to make someone into a role model if they are not up for it. If we don't yet have women in the Joomla! community who are confident to deliver a keynote, lets focus on developing their confidence and give the opportunity for their skills to develop.

I guess the take home point for me is that any of the 'we need more women involved in xxx' needs to develop organically - for sure, if there are practical ways to make things easier for women to participate then that's great but it shouldn't be forced.

Personally I have no issues working in the technology world, most people I work with are male and I don't have any issues with that. I do however believe passionately that women should never feel excluded on account of their gender from any direction, and people involved with the Joomla! project should perhaps be aware of not becoming too much of an 'old boys club' for want of a better term. One thing I have noticed is that if women reach out to other women in the community and encourage them to contribute more, there tends to be a positive effect ... so perhaps us gals need to take the initiative and see what we can do to raise the headcount at the next JWC :)

Ruth
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Ruth,
One thing I have noticed is that if women reach out to other women in the community and encourage them to contribute more, there tends to be a positive effect ... so perhaps us gals need to take the initiative and see what we can do to raise the headcount at the next JWC

Agreed, but let's not limit it to only the JWC, but other Joomla and IT/tech events, as well.

Thank you for your excellent comment!
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If you have ideas or suggestions, but are too shy to comment here, please feel free to write to me directly at dianne.henning@opensourcematters.org
Keep the comments coming!
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Hi everyone,

Even though I'm a guy, I was happily surprised to see so many women at JWC... and while I may be wrong, I had the impression that proportionality speaking we [JWC/Joomla] was beating out the average tech sector in terms of women attendance/participation... am I wrong? is 23% low, average or way above average ?

Keep up the great work and let more of you join the community!
Sincerely,

Emmanuel.
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Hi Emmanuel,

We had a great turnout at JWC, 23% is a good number, but I think we can do better.

As for speaking, the comment that Jess made was specifically about the Keynote speakers, all of which were men. The Joomla Community is very open and receptive to women.

FYI, just yesterday (December 3, 2012) the PLT put out a call for nominations. I hope a few women will answer that call! [url=]community.joomla.org/blogs/leadership/17...eam-nominations.html[/url]
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Thanks Dianne for asking these questions, and thanks to everyone who has responded so far!

We should absolutely do all we can to help Joomla become more inclusive of women. This has my full support.

Lots of great ideas have been shared here, and I am sure lots more will be coming. Let's work together and make more inclusiveness of women a priority for Joomla!
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Thanks, Paul! Your support is appreciated! I have a few ideas that I am working on!
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"Is there anything that holds you back from attending, or speaking at a Joomla event?" - yes.

And obviously while you would like me to expand on that, i will sum up the main issue as not having a passport; then add not being invited (even after sending in intention to attend), i did attend jdayuk11 though on the Sunday and found that enjoyable.
Apart from that i am usually too busy with my CT&D etc.

People should be 'invited/involved' by their skill not biological gender. Hence most of my skype email etc is via nondescript name.

[pity this is turning into a gender debate]
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mandville,

I don't think this is a gender debate, but more a call to the talented and very skilled women in tech to make the effort to attend, and speak, at more events. There is a lot to be gained from meeting the Joomla Community in person. Friendships are made and networks expand.

I am glad that you attended and enjoyed JDayUK11. It would be great to see you at JAB13 or JWC13! If you start now, you would have plenty of time to apply for a passport! ;-)

Thanks for your reply!
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If you want to see women in Joomla, you should come to Joomla Day New England. The Joomla User Group New England is more than half women and the organizers of the user group and the Joomla Day happen to be all women.

We'll be having our 5th JD next April and if it's anything like the others, women will be strongly represented both in the attendees and the speakers. I will admit that we are having Brian Teeman give the one short keynote that we have -- but there aren't many people more entertaining of either sex.

I think one thing that some women may need to learn to do is to become more proactive in getting speaking engagements, if that's what they are interested in. We get our speakers from having seen people speak before and from people writing to us expressing an interest in speaking at our conference. Talk at your monthly meetings, take advantage of conference that have a call for papers, and submit a paper proposal for those places where you'd like to talk.

Hope to see you all at some event!
Andy
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Andy,

I have been promoting JDNE as THE JoomlaDay for women! I hope numbers will go up!! I am looking forward to seeing you there!

PS- Here's the link to JDNE! Sign up now! [url=]www.joomladaynewengland.org/[/url]
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My two cents as a male who's spent more time than he cares to measure in overly dominant male communities...

I personally think that too much emphasis is still placed on one's gender (or race, religion, or anything else falling under the US Equal Opportunity laws, for example). I'm a firm believer that if you're good at what you do, then go out there and just do it, and let the world know you're comfortable in that role. I look forward to the day where our world, and the communities that I work and live in, are more open to all individuals and we stop looking for people to fill roles because of their race, gender, religion, etc.

With that said, I don't want to discourage anyone from getting involved with and being vocal in the community. Quite the contrary, I welcome it! I'm of the opinion that if you have something to offer, then offer it and don't hold yourself back because of some preconceptions. You really never know what is going to happen until you do it.

So, ladies, and everyone else reading through my babble, if you want to get out there and participate in events, then do it! Reach out to event organizers and let them know what you have to offer. If you want to take up a position of leadership, then step forward and let your actions do the talking. Those actions will speak for who you are and what you are intending to accomplish.
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Michael,
If you want to take up a position of leadership, then step forward and let your actions do the talking. Those actions will speak for who you are and what you are intending to accomplish.

You have, and always will, rock my soul. Your dedication and straight-forward honesty is the best part of you. Never let that go. Congrats on your new position. You wear it well.
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Well said Michael!


With women, all we need is a little motivation, "Hey, you should do this, you'd do great at it!" and that is enough for a woman to make a decision with taking a leadership role. Well, that's how I work. Not sure about everyone else. :-) (Dianne, don't get any ideas!)
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Frankly, I was surprised that the use of this horribly inappropriate image at a JoomlaDay wasn't discussed (at least publicly) by the community. Such garbage creates a threatening environment for women, and certainly isn't conducive to the growth of female participation in Joomla.

While I don't think there is a "problem" in the community (the above incident stands alone as far as I know), we need to be vigilant and cultivate a welcoming environment where women are confident enough to step forward and share their ideas online and in meatspace.

Here's a good (relevant) article:
www.netmagazine.com/features/primer-sexism-tech-industry
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Mark,

I agree with you, that image is completely inappropriate in a presentation slide deck. At a recent event, I was the only woman in the room and a few suggestive slides were included in the presentation. (I did mention it to the event organizer.) There are other ways to make a point (or a joke) without making anyone uncomfortable.

Thank you for the article link, very informative and well worth reading.
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Hi Diane,

Perhaps OSM could look into requiring a code of conduct for official Joomla events similar to:
pyfound.blogspot.com/2012/12/psf-moves-t...code-of-conduct.html

See this example of a code of conduct from PyCon US:

us.pycon.org/2013/about/code-of-conduct/
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Thanks, Mark. I have just joined the Joomla Events Team, and I will bring this to their attention as well.
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Ryan Ozimek demonstrated how to address imbalance during his tenure as OSM president -- he made a public commitment to staff positions using qualified people who better represent the diversity of this community. OSM followed through and the results have been a big positive for this project.

It would be good to see all areas of the project embrace a balanced involvement strategy. Finding qualified people who better represent the diversity of those who use Joomla will take more time. Practices need to change -- instead of always turning to the same people to do things -- old timers (male and female, official and not) should be encouraged to mentor new leaders, and then to move out of the way, and allow other voices be heard, a new generation to come in. Cycling leadership, implementing real term limits, stepping back so others can step up, will lead to increases in overall involvement, and small gains in diversity.

The reality is that the only way to significantly increase involvement of those who are underrepresented is to follow Ryan's lead and make a commitment to involve qualified individuals who represent this diverse world. As people "see themselves" in the group, and more importantly, in the leadership of the group, they will feel "safe" to join in.
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As the person who was responsible for the programme at the JWC and the last JAB I've been trying to find the time to explain the process involved with selecting the sessions.

Contrary to some opinion only the keynote speakers were invited and this was purely based on recommendations about the quality of them as speakers. All the other speakers were as the result of an open call for papers. I was amazed at the number of proposals and although some were clearly not appropriate for a Joomla conference it was a challenge to decide which were accepted and sadly which were rejected. We had to create some criteria and unfortunately there were a few personal friends whose proposals were rejected.

I also wanted to comment more about involving more women as speakers and my own personal views and recommedations but this web site somes it all up here at weareallaweso.me/
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Olá!
Sou Eliana Matthos, do Brasil.
Trabalho com Joomla há 5 anos e sou apaixonada por ele.
É preciso paciência e perseverança para aprender cada novidade que aparece no dia-a-dia, mas vale a pena! O desejo de desvendar é que o me motiva sempre mais me aprofundar nele. Cada descoberta é uma vitória.
Fico feliz de ter mais e mais mulheres desvendando o Joomla e trabalhando para que ele fique cada vez melhor.
Abraços.

Hello!
Eliana Matthos'm from Brazil.
Working with Joomla for 5 years and am passionate about it.
It takes patience and perseverance to learn every novelty that appears on a day-to-day, but worth it! The desire to unravel is that always motivates me more I delve into it. Each discovery is a victory.
Glad to have more and more women working unveiling Joomla and so it is getting better.
Hugs.
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