Free Ally Skills Workshop for attendees of Ohio LinuxFest on Oct. 2

Would you like to be part of changing the culture of Linux to be more welcoming to women, newcomers, and marginalized people? You can help by attending the Ally Skills Workshop at Ohio LinuxFest on October 2nd from 1:30pm to 4:00pm. The workshop is free to Ohio LinuxFest attendees thanks to an anonymous donation of $100,000 to the Ada Initiative from a Linux kernel developer. In addition to leading the workshop, Valerie Aurora will also be one of the keynote speakers at Ohio LinuxFest, on October 3rd.

A woman explains while a man listens

Ally Skills Workshop discussion

The Ally Skills Workshop teaches men how to support women in their workplaces and communities, by effectively speaking up when they see sexism, creating discussions that allow more voices to be heard, and learning how to prevent sexism and unwelcoming behavior in the first place. The changes that reduce sexism also make communities more welcoming, productive, and creative.

You can attend the workshop by applying on the form on the event page. Register for Ohio LinuxFest here. The least expensive registration level is free if you register in advance, and $10 if you register on-site.

The workshop is made possible by the generosity of an anonymous Linux kernel developer who donated $100,000 to the Ada Initiative last year in order to support women in Linux and greater diversity in open source software overall. This is the third of four workshops we will be teaching at Linux-related conferences in 2015 at no charge to the organizers.

Here are a few things people have said after attending other Ally Skills Workshops:

“We’ve run the [Ally Skills Workshop] 4 times and the impact has been fantastic. This workshop has been the catalyst for many ‘a­ha’ moments. People who understood bias exists in a very logical way, were able to see, through the conversation with peers about the very relevant scenarios, and connect emotionally with the impact bias has on the colleagues they respect and interact with daily.” – Anonymous participant

“I’ve already witnessed a couple of incidents where coworkers who attended the workshop corrected themselves after saying something that could be misconstrued.” – Anonymous participant

“Change is uncomfortable. This workshop helped me be comfortable about being uncomfortable. Once that is addressed it opens a path for improvement, personally and for our industry.” – Kris Amundson

You can be part of change in the Linux kernel development community! Sign up for the Ally Skills Workshop at Ohio LinuxFest today!

Free Ally Skills Workshop at ACM ICFP in Vancouver on August 30

If you are attending the ACM ICFP conference on programming languages in Vancouver, you can apply to attend a free Ally Skills Workshop at ICFP on August 30 from 1:30pm – 4:30pm!

A woman explains while a man listens

Ally Skills Workshop discussion

The Ally Skills Workshop teaches men simple, everyday ways to support women in their workplaces and communities. Participants learn techniques that work at the office, in classrooms, at conferences, and online. The skills we teach are relevant everywhere, including skills particularly relevant to open technology and culture communities. At the end of the tutorial, participants will feel more confident in speaking up to support women, be more aware of the challenges facing women in their workplaces and communities, and have closer relationships with the other participants.

This tutorial will be tailored to the ICFP community and intended to be useful for those working in academia, in industry, and as open-source volunteers. You can learn more about the workshop here, and apply to attend here.

This workshop is free to attendees of ICFP thanks to the generosity of the conference organizers. This workshop could not have happened without the volunteer work and advocacy of Tim Chevalier, a long-time leader in the functional programming community and supporter of the Ada Initiative. Thank you all for your support and hope to see you at the workshop!

Announcing the shutdown of the Ada Initiative

It is with mixed feelings that we announce that the Ada Initiative will be shutting down in approximately mid-October. We are proud of what we accomplished with the support of many thousands of volunteers, sponsors, and donors, and we expect all of our programs to continue on in some form without the Ada Initiative. Thank you for your incredible work and support!

What we accomplished

80 women cheering and wearing many different colors, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

AdaCamp Portland attendees in 2014
CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

When the Ada Initiative was founded in 2011, the environment for women in open technology and culture was extremely hostile. Conference anti-harassment policies were rare outside of certain areas in fandom, and viewed as extremist attempts to muzzle free speech. Pornography in slides was a regular feature at many conferences in these areas, as were physical and sexual assault. Most open tech/culture communities didn’t have an understanding of basic feminist concepts like consent, tone policing, and intersectional oppression.

Anti-harassment policy and code of conduct work

With the support of hundreds of volunteers, the Ada Initiative led the drive to make strong, specific, and enforced anti-harassment policies a standard and expected part of any moderately well-run conference. Today, thousands of conferences have these policies, including many in the area of free and open source software, fandom, Wikimedia projects, computer technology, library technology, science writing, entomology, and many other areas we never expected to influence. This work is now completely community-driven; people everywhere are developing and improving codes of conducts for online communities.

AdaCamp unconferences

We ran our first AdaCamp unconference in 2012 in Melbourne, and ran six more AdaCamps in the following years, in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Portland, Berlin, Bangalore, and Montreal. Over 500 women had an experience many of them described as “life-changing.” AdaCamp awakened their feminist identity, helped them improve their careers, and connected them with a community of support. Many women realized for the first time that what they were going through was not unique to themselves, that their negative experiences were the result of systemic sexism, and that they could make changes in their lives with the help of women they met through AdaCamp. We created the AdaCamp Toolkit so that other people could run events more like AdaCamp. Among many other things, it includes step-by-step guides on how to provide food that matches attendees’ food restrictions, create access lanes to increase accessibility, and provide childcare, all available under the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.

Impostor Syndrome Training

Beginning at AdaCamp San Francisco in 2013, we taught a class for women in open tech/culture communities at every AdaCamp on overcoming Impostor Syndrome. Impostor Syndrome is the feeling that you are a fraud and will be found out as unqualified, often for the work you are already performing. Many women in open tech/culture experience Impostor Syndrome, and are excited to learn how to counteract it. We will be teaching the Impostor Syndrome workshop as a standalone class in August in Oakland and Sydney. Before we shut down, we will release the materials to run the class under the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.

The Ally Skills Workshop

The Ada Initiative created the Ally Skills Workshop in 2011, which teaches men how to use their societal advantages to do more of the emotional labor of pushing back against sexism and exclusionary behavior in their communities and workplaces. Research shows that when women speak up against sexism in the workplace, they often suffer retaliation, but when men speak up against sexism, they seldom suffer retaliation for it and sometimes even get rewarded. Cultural change happens more quickly when men, who are often in positions of greater power, are also actively working for change, especially in fields where women make up a small percentage of people involved. Women can then use the time and emotional energy they were spending on trying to make their community less sexist to work on their primary projects or main job duties.

In the past four years, the Ally Skills Workshop has been taught to over 2,000 people, and we formally trained over 40 people to teach the workshop. Already, at least five people are actively teaching the Ally Skills Workshops in several different open tech/culture communities and we hope more people will teach the workshop in the future. All the workshop materials, including the slides, presentation notes, workshop handouts, facilitator training guide, and video of a workshop, are available under the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.
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Remembering Nóirín Plunkett

Photograph of Nóirín Plunkett

Nóirín Plunkett
by Tom Coates CC BY-NC

Valerie and Mary are devastated to learn today that our long-time friend and collaborator Nóirín Plunkett has died.

Nóirín will be remembered as a leading open source contributor; brilliant and compassionate and welcoming and funny. They were a long time leader in the Apache Software Foundation community, and a gifted speaker and documentation writer. Nóirín was key to the creation of the Ada Initiative in more ways than one. Since then they made invaluable contributions to the Ada Initiative as an advisor since February 2011, and a project manager in 2014. We are more grateful than we can say.

Nóirín was also one of the strongest and bravest people we will ever have the privilege of knowing.

Our thoughts are with everyone who loved Nóirín, everyone who worked with them, everyone who went to their talks or learned from their writing, everyone who met them at a conference, everyone for whom they made the open source and technical communities a better place.

The Ada Initiative has suspended donations for the time being. Some people close to Nóirín have suggested donating to:

Rape Abuse Incest National Network (see this note on variation of trans-inclusiveness of organizations they refer people to)

Center of Excellence for Transgender Health (please follow the additional instructions underneath the “Donate” button)

Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Add a little bit of AdaCamp to your event: announcing the AdaCamp toolkit!

A group of AdaCamp Bangalore attendees

AdaCamp Bangalore attendees in 2014

Today we’re releasing the AdaCamp Toolkit, a series of howto guides to many of the things that were special about AdaCamp, and that we’d love to see spread to other events. And the entire Toolkit is freely usable and modifiable under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike licence so that you can improve on it too!

We’re still sad that we won’t be hosting any more AdaCamp events but we’re hoping we can help you fill the gap by adding a little bit — or a lot — of AdaCamp to your event, and to see lots of new events that are everything that AdaCamp tried to be! One of the goals of AdaCamp was to be a conference that spread its best ideas far and wide. We want to see the greatest hits of AdaCamp at as many events as possible.

Here’s some AdaCamp Toolkit ideas for your next event:

80 women cheering and wearing many different colors, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

AdaCamp Portland attendees in 2014
CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

Many more guides are included in the AdaCamp Toolkit, from sample website content to a guide to managing challenging topics at a feminist unconference. What special sauce can you mix from the AdaCamp Toolkit for your event?

The AdaCamp Toolkit was edited and primarily written by Deputy Executive Director Mary Gardiner, with assistance from other AdaCamp staff and consultants, including Alex Bayley, Suki McCoy, and Valerie Aurora. We’d also like to thank many members of the advisory board for their help with reviewing the Toolkit over the last two weeks. Especial thanks to Mel Chua, lead author of the guide to support for d/Deaf people. Thanks also to Selena Deckelmann, Alicia Gibb, Amelia Greenhall, Leigh Honeywell, Andrea Horbinski, Sarah Sharp, Sara Smollett, and Andromeda Yelton for reviews and feedback as we worked to make this public.

Free Ally Skills Workshop for attendees of LinuxCon Seattle August 17

Would you like to be part of changing the culture of Linux to be more welcoming to women, newcomers, and marginalized people? You can help by attending the Ally Skills Workshop at LinuxCon NA in Seattle on August 17 from 2:20pm to 5:20pm. The workshop is free to LinuxCon attendees thanks to an anonymous donation of $100,000 to the Ada Initiative from a Linux kernel developer.

A woman explains while a man listens

Ally Skills Workshop discussion

The Ally Skills Workshop teaches men how to support women in their workplaces and communities, by effectively speaking up when they see sexism, creating discussions that allow more voices to be heard, and learning how to prevent sexism and unwelcoming behavior in the first place. The changes that reduce sexism also make communities more welcoming, productive, and creative.

You can attend the workshop by applying on the form on the event page. Register for LinuxCon NA 2015 here.

The workshop is made possible by the generosity of an anonymous Linux kernel developer who donated $100,000 to the Ada Initiative last year in order to support women in Linux and greater diversity in open source software overall. This is the second of four workshops we will be teaching at Linux-related conferences in 2015 at no charge to the organizers.

Here are a few things people have said after attending other Ally Skills Workshops:

“We’ve run the [Ally Skills Workshop] 4 times and the impact has been fantastic. This workshop has been the catalyst for many ‘a­ha’ moments. People who understood bias exists in a very logical way, were able to see, through the conversation with peers about the very relevant scenarios, and connect emotionally with the impact bias has on the colleagues they respect and interact with daily.” – Anonymous participant

“I’ve already witnessed a couple of incidents where coworkers who attended the workshop corrected themselves after saying something that could be misconstrued.” – Anonymous participant

“Change is uncomfortable. This workshop helped me be comfortable about being uncomfortable. Once that is addressed it opens a path for improvement, personally and for our industry.” – Kris Amundson

You can be part of change in the Linux kernel development community! Sign up for the Ally Skills Workshop at today!

Fight impostor syndrome: take the Ada Initiative's impostor syndrome training in August in Oakland or Sydney!

Women can now take the Fighting Impostor Syndrome class without going to AdaCamp! In August, the Ada Initiative will teach two classes on fighting Impostor Syndrome, one in Oakland, California, USA, and one in Sydney, Australia. Half the tickets are free of charge, thanks to our generous donors in 2014.

Impostor Syndrome is the feeling that you aren’t actually qualified for the work you are doing and will be discovered as a fraud. It is prevalent among women in open tech/culture, many of whom have been socialised to value other’s opinion of their work above their own, and to do things “by the book.” Impostor syndrome is a common reaction to doing publicly visible and publicly criticised work like that done in open technology and culture.

Our first Fighting Impostor Syndrome workshop will be held at Impact Hub Oakland, Oakland, California, USA on Tuesday August 11 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. 100 tickets are available, including 50 free tickets: get your ticket to the Fighting Impostor Syndrome workshop in Oakland at Eventbrite.

Our second Fighting Impostor Syndrome workshop will be held at Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, Sydney, Australia on Wednesday August 19 from 2pm to 3:30pm. 30 tickets are available, including 15 free tickets: get your ticket to the Fighting Impostor Syndrome workshop in Sydney at Eventbrite.

In line with our mission of supporting women in open technology and culture, both our Oakland and Sydney workshops are open to anyone who identifies as a woman in a way that is significant to them.

We’d love to share this program far and wide, and so, after these workshops, the Ada Initiative will publish our Fighting Impostor Syndrome workshop materials under Creative Commons BY-SA for you to teach in your own communities. Thank you again for your support!