Freely available conference booklet template designed to welcome women

Look how happy our conference program made AdaCampers!

Organizing a conference is a lot of work, and one of the least pleasant tasks is writing the program booklet. The Ada Initiative wrote the best program booklet we knew how for AdaCamp DC, with lots of help from the Geek Feminism Wiki, and now we are releasing it under the CC-BY-SA license. Now we have turned it into a reusable template including all the information you’ll need for your conference. You are welcome to reuse it for your conference!

We include several guidelines that make women and all attendeees feel more welcome that go beyond a bare-bones anti-harassment policy. One example is a set of cards handed out at unconference sessions that help make discussion much more fun and interesting. Each card spells out a different useful role to keep the meeting moving: a gatekeeper (someone who makes sure everyone gets a chance to speak), a timekeeper, a leader/facilitator who keeps the meeting on track, and a note taker. Print out the cards and put one set in each unconference session and ask people to pick a role. This makes discussion way more interesting for everyone. We had a great feedback on how this improved discussion at AdaCamp DC!

Another example is that we suggest having a photography policy that gives people a clear visual signal – such as different colored badge lanyards – for whether they want to be photographed. Photos and videos of women are often taken without consent or commented on negatively; having control over how their images are used makes women more comfortable and confident at conferences. Some women don’t attend conferences at all that don’t have photography policies. (The recent controversy over images of non-consenting women posted on Reddit is just one example of why women might avoid having their pictures taken.)

Check out the entire set of resources for conference organizers, maintained over on the Geek Feminism Wiki.

If you find this useful, or want to support further work like this, please consider donating to the Ada Initiative before October 31, 2012:

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