Author Archives: Mary Gardiner

AdaCamp news: when will I hear about my application? when do childcare requests close? where can I stay?

We are so excited to have received more than two hundred applications to attend AdaCamp San Francisco! Right now we’re deep in reviewing them and are sending out decisions and registration information as quickly as we can. We apologise to anyone who has been waiting for a decision. I’m basically working on nothing else until decisions are all sent!

If you haven’t heard from us yet

Applications are being reviewed progressively. If you haven’t heard from us yet, we have not reached your application in the review queue. (It definitely does not mean you’ve been rejected.) I apologise especially for the delay in notifying travel grant applicants.

We are working to the following timeline:

  • applicants who asked for international travel grants (applicants outside the USA, Canada and Mexico) will be notified today, May 1
  • applicants who asked for domestic travel grants (applicants from the USA, Canada and Mexico) will be notified by Friday May 3 at the latest
  • other applicants who applied before April 14 will be notified by Friday May 3 at the latest
  • applicants who applied between April 14 and April 30 will be notified by Tuesday May 7 at the latest, sooner if we can
  • applicants who apply between May 1 and May 6 will be notified by Tuesday May 14 at the latest, sooner if we can

Please contact if you were expecting a notification and have not received one by the dates above.

Childcare requests

AdaCamp is providing limited free childcare places for attendees. We need to finalise childcare numbers very soon, and therefore unfortunately need to close applications for childcare earlier than the May 6 deadline. If you want to request a free childcare place for AdaCamp, please apply by Friday May 2. After this, no more childcare requests can be taken.

If you have already applied and asked for a childcare place, our event planner will be in touch late this week or early next week to confirm your childcare needs.

Travel and accommodation information

If you have been accepted to AdaCamp, you may be interested in accommodation options and venue and transport information.

If you are interested in sharing a room with another attendee, and are willing for your name and email to be shared with other attendees for this purpose, please email

We thank our gold level sponsors Mozilla, Automattic and Google Site Reliability Engineering; and our silver level sponsors Linux Foundation, Red Hat, Intel, and Puppet Labs; for their support of AdaCamp San Francisco.

Applications for AdaCamp San Francisco travel grants closing this Friday!

The Ada Initiative is offering travel grants to selected applicants to AdaCamp San Francisco, our two-day unconference and summit for women in open technology and culture! In order to be eligible for a travel grant, you must apply by this Friday April 12.

Applications are open at the AdaCamp San Francisco website. Information on how we select travel grant awardees is available.

Applicants who do not need travel assistance have until April 30 to apply to AdaCamp, but places are limited to 250 attendees and are awarded in order of application. We encourage you to apply today.

Why AdaCamp?

Why is AdaCamp so important to women in open technology and culture? Because AdaCamp measurably increases women’s participation in open technology and culture – in an environment that more often pushes women towards the door.

Most women who attend AdaCamp “lean in” to their careers and community work after AdaCamp. In our post-conference survey, 92% of survey respondents said AdaCamp increased their commitment to open technology and culture.

AdaCamp also increases women’s professional connections: 100% of survey respondents said AdaCamp increased their network in open tech/culture. Several AdaCamp attendees landed new jobs in open tech/culture through the connections they made at AdaCamp, and at least two won prestigious internships with Code for America and the GNOME Outreach Program for Women. One of the benefits of attending AdaCamp is joining the AdaCamp alumni mailing list, which members use to recruit job applicants, advertise events, and share career advice.

AdaCampers learn new skills at AdaCamp as well. Past AdaCamps included tutorials in Wikipedia editing, Python programming, and other open tech/culture topics. The tutorials were so popular that we are expanding them this year, and adding a “hackathon” (for all open tech/culture projects, not just coding).

Apply to AdaCamp

Applications are open to attend AdaCamp San Francisco, to be held on Saturday June 8 and Sunday June 9 in San Francisco, California. All women who are interesting in meeting other women in open technology and culture, and learning and sharing about efforts to improve women’s participation in and the community environment of open technology and culture, are invited to apply. An allies track open to attendees of any gender will be held on Saturday June 8.

We thank our gold level sponsors Mozilla and Automattic; and our silver level sponsors Google Site Reliability Engineering, Linux Foundation, Red Hat, and Intel; for their support of AdaCamp San Francisco.

Meet and greet: BlackGirlsCODE, January 31, Washington DC

BlackGirlsCODE are having a volunteer meetup in Washington DC on Thursday January 31. BGC volunteers from multiple cities are attending, and current and potential BGC in the District volunteers are invited to attend.

The event will be held at UNCF corporate office located at 1805 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. RSVP at EventBrite. General volunteer signup for BGC through the United States is also available.

Got open tech and culture news to share with women in the Ada Initiative’s community? Email

Tell us what your open tech/culture event did to assist carers and children to attend!

Several conference organisers have responded to our article about 2013’s childcare to offer other suggestions from their events about how to make child-carers and children welcome at their events. We’d love to share more ideas from past and upcoming events! If you’d like to explain your event’s offerings and stategies, please complete this form and we’ll compile your responses into an article about tried and true approaches to making open tech and culture events parent, carer and child-friendly! 2013: "The response to offering conference childcare has been overwhelming"

Conference childcare is one possible way to make attending conferences easier for women. Mothers are disproportionately likely to be primary carers for children, and, particularly for out of town events, may therefore be unduly burdened with finding and paying for childcare in order to attend events.

Australia’s premier open source conference,, is offering formal childcare for the first time at their 2013 event next week. To help share their approach with other conferences, the Ada Initiative interviewed Lana Brindley, one of the core 2013 organizers, about their childcare plans.

Lana: 2013 is offering free childcare, provided by qualified childcarers, for children aged 0-12 during the conference sessions. Children must be signed in and out for each session, just as in a normal childcare arrangement at at a centre. Care is being provided in a room close to the main conference, so that parents can come and go easily.

There’s more info on our blog and in postings to the parents mailing list.

Footpath through trees on the the Australian National University campus, by Stephen Dann CC BY-SA 2013 venue: the Australian National University, by Stephen Dann CC BY-SA

Why is LCA 2013 offering childcare?

Lana: We recognise that many of our delegates are parents. Parents that come to the conference don’t always have the ability (or inclination) to leave their children with relatives or other carers while they are travelling. By offering childcare at the conference, we are providing parents with more choice about how they would like to spend their time at With any luck, it means that parents can bring their children with them to conference, and both parents and children can enjoy the week much more.

Has there been strong demand for childcare?

Lana: This is the first time childcare has been offered at the conference, and only the second time that a parents’ room has been made available ( 2012 in Ballarat offered a parents’ room for the first time). Because of this, we really didn’t know how many parents would be interested in using the service. However, demand has been quite high, and we will probably be close to the maximum number of children we can comfortably look after.

How did you find room in the conference budget to offer free childcare?

Lana: We investigated a number of different options for providing childcare, and after some looking around we were lucky enough to find two qualified childcarers who were willing to provide childcare for the conference. The cost to the conference compared with our overall budget is relatively small. Most of the costs are associated with fitting out the parents’ room with appropriate equipment and entertainment for the children. If future conference organisers want to run childcare, then a lot of that equipment could be reused. The idea is that, by offering childcare, we enable more delegates to attend the conference, so the budget should balance.

How difficult was it to arrange childcare?

Lana: Once we had contacted the childcarers and they had agreed to come on board, we held a meeting where we went through a lot of the legislation related to childcare, and discussed what requirements they had to provide care for the week. We then set about making sure we could stick to those rules and regulations. It wasn’t difficult, necessarily, but there have been a lot of things to consider, such as making sure we maintain proper child:carer ratios if a toddler needs to go to the bathroom, and where to safely store formula and breastmilk.

Would you recommend other conferences make similar arrangements, or (having organised it once) can you suggest improvements to LCA 2013’s arrangements?

Lana: At this stage, I’m confident that our childcare will be successful, and after spending some time with our childcarers I have utmost faith that they will do a great job. However, this is something that is new to, and I have no doubt that we will run across things during the week that we can learn from.

I would absolutely recommend other conferences consider offering childcare (either for free, or for a nominal fee). The positive response to this initiative has been overwhelming, and hopefully if it becomes a regular feature of (and technical conferences generally), it will help to encourage parents, and especially women who are primary childcarers, to attend conferences that they might otherwise not have gone to.

Limor "ladyada" Fried: Entrepreneur of 2012!

Photograph of Limor Fried

Limor Fried, used with permission

Limor “ladyada” Fried, founder of open hardware company Adafruit Industries, is Entrepreneur Magazine‘s Entrepreneur of 2012. Fried founded Adafruit while in college, and has grown it to a firm of more than 30 employees shipping hundreds of electronic products a day. They also provide extensive electronics tutorials. Fried is an open hardware pioneer, having contributed to the authoring of the Open Source Hardware definition and she has keynoted the Open Source Hardware summit. She’s previously been recognised by Fast Company as among The Most Influential Women in Technology and been profiled in Wired.

We asked Fried a few questions about her career, and whether open hardware is a community where other women could build a career:

Q. How has the open in open hardware contributed to Adafruit’s success?

Limor: Adafruit was built on the idea you can be a great cause and a great business, from the start we’ve given away the “recipe” of how make things. From the actual files to publishing code on how our open-source shopping cart system works. We’ve found the more you give, the more you get back. Our customers and community have a lot of choices where they can get electronics and more, they choose Adafruit because they know they’re part of something more than a sale of physical goods. Because we’ve put value in, we get a lot of value back.

Q. Has starting your own business let you accomplish things that wouldn’t have been possible as an employee?

Limor: Running your own business allows you to take risks that you usually cannot take if you’re an employee. Not too long ago we decided to hack the Kinect. We wanted everyone to be able to use Microsoft’s Kinect on any hardware they wanted, and to be able to create amazing projects. One of my favorite projects is a sign language translator, it’s amazing to see what the open source community had done with Kinect now that it’s been made more open. There was a lot of talk of Microsoft suing us, they eventually backed down and embraced the maker/hacker community – but if I were an employee I would not have been able to take on Microsoft.

Q. Have you found the maker community welcoming to a woman leader? How would you recommend women get involved?

Limor: The maker community has from the start celebrated woman leaders, the open source hardware summits to littleBits are all led by women. It’s one of the best examples of women in tech leading and doing amazing things. To get involved, look to your local hackerspaces/makerspace and join in, participate on forums and mailing lists — my favorite quote is from Dean Kamen “We are what we celebrate” — we still still have a lot of work to do to get more women celebrated in many tech fields, everyone can help get some amazing women in the spotlight more and more.

In this video, Fried introduces her company and explains how the principles of open hardware contribute to Adafruit’s business and educational goals:


One of the really interesting things about the way we do business here at Adafruit is that not only do I design and manufacture electronics but then I give away the recipe of how it’s done. And I do this because I think it’s really important for people to not only understand how we make stuff but how they can make stuff themselves at home… I give away all this information so that people can learn, share and build their own businesses from it… I’ve found that the more we help people by teaching them and showing them how to be creative on their own the more they rewarded us by being great customers and also being part of our fun community.

Entrepreneur Magazine writes:

Limor’s and Adafruit’s efforts have shown it’s possible to not only have a goal of education, and to share knowledge freely, but how it’s possible to run a business doing so. There are hundreds of people and companies that have been empowered by Limor and Adafruit’s designs – they’ve gone on to make and share their own designs and start their own businesses, all using the hardware and software from Adafruit.

Limor’s goal is to make the world a better place by creating great products and showing how they’re made so others can learn and share. Adafruit has discovered the more we all give and share, the more we all get back.

Congratulations Limor!

Interested in attending an AdaCamp in San Francisco?

Photograph of the San Francisco cityscape

by Glen Scarborough, CC BY-SA

AdaCamp is a conference dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture: open source software, Wikipedia-related projects, open data, open geo, fan fiction, remix culture, and more. AdaCamp brings women together to build community, discuss issues women have in common across open technology and culture fields, and find ways to address them.

The Ada Initiative is planning to run our third AdaCamp, in San Francisco, California, on June 8–9, 2013, following successful events in Melbourne and in Washington DC in 2012. AdaCamp San Francisco will have two tracks: one for people who identify as women and one for allies of all genders.

AdaCamp DC attendees

AdaCamp DC attendees

In order to properly plan the event, we are hoping to get an indication of number of attendees, and the size of the travel assistance program we run. In order to do this, we are asking for expressions of interest in attending. If you are interested in attending, please fill out this expression of interest form below. If you do, you will be offered the first chance to formally apply.

Please note: this is not a full application to attend AdaCamp San Francisco, just a way to gauge interest. We will contact you with application details when applications open.

Interested in sponsoring AdaCamp?

AdaCamps are sponsor-supported events. Benefits include recruiting opportunities, your name in every conference announcement, and reserved attendance slots for qualified employees, depending on level.

Contact for more information: our sponsorship prospectus will be released shortly.