Progress in 2013: AdaCamp and other Ada Initiative events

We’re reposting sections from our mid-year progress report for 2013. Read the entire report here.

Photograph of Jen Mei Wu, seated

AdaCamper Jen Mei Wu, photo by Sarah Sharp

In June, the Ada Initiative ran AdaCamp San Francisco, the third AdaCamp bringing women and their allies in open technology and culture together to talk about issues and problems women face and about how to solve them. AdaCamp continues to be our most popular and effective program for recruiting and retaining women in open tech/culture, which is why we invest about 3 months of staff time on each AdaCamp. For example, 85% of attendees surveyed said that AdaCamp San Francisco increased their commitment to open tech/culture!

AdaCamp San Francisco was our largest AdaCamp to date, double the size of AdaCamp DC in July 2012, with about 200 attendees. It was the first AdaCamp to feature a dedicated one-day allies track for people of any gender. To increase the diversity of the event we offered travel scholarships to attendees from countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, India and Cambodia. AdaCamp is an unconference, and attendee-led sessions included: a Likeability Paradox discussion; diversity beyond gender, depression in activists, womyn of color, job seeking and career advice, and expressing femininity in technical spaces. We also incorporated Impostor Syndrome training and a make-a-thon and hackfest for the first time. Find out more about AdaCamp in our AdaCamp SF final report!

Netha Hussain explains the long-term impact of AdaCamp on attendees, 8 months after AdaCamp DC:

Netha Hussain

Netha Hussain

While traveling back to India, I was deeply satisfied. I had too many projects in mind, and the potential to work towards accomplishing them – Ada Camp put me in touch with the right people and right resources to get me started. Listening to the success stories of other participants helped me overcome my initial inertia, and stimulated me to work hard towards increasing the participation of women in Wikimedia projects.

pycon_hacker_loungeIn March we ran a smaller event, the first Ada Initiative feminist hacker lounge, at PyCon US in Santa Clara. The feminist lounge was a casual space in the exhibition hall, sharing a beanbag hangout space with PyLadies, and hosting sessions including “Impostor Syndrome Check-in” and “Hackerspaces: What’s Working, What’s Not?” We enjoyed hosting this home base for women at the conference and have suggestions for how you can do it too!

What’s next? AdaCamp brings together so many women interested in working in and changing the open tech and culture space. AdaCamp is going to remain a core part of the Ada Initiative’s work. We are hoping to work with dedicated event staff on future AdaCamps and are considering host cities for AdaCamps in 2014 and 2015. We will also publish a collection of event advice, for running events that are open, accessible and welcoming to women in open tech and culture.