Moving the Needle: How the San Francisco Ruby Community got to 18%


The San Francisco Ruby community went from 3% women to 18% women in less than a year, using no witchcraft! Any OSS community with the right dedication can do it. Come find out how.

In January 2009, the monthly San Francisco Ruby meetings averaged 2% women. In January 2010, they averaged 18%. What happened in a year to make such a big difference?

Over the last year, Sarah Allen and I have been spending all our nights and weekends working on a series of workshops for women who want to learn Ruby. When we got started, to be honest, I wasn't very optimistic. I've lived through quite a few gender diversity efforts in quite a few technical communities, and most of them failed to make any noticeable dent.

But to my amazement, we were incredibly successful. In this talk, I'll take you through the factors that were critical to our success, and I'll explore the great things our community has gotten from the effort - some expected, some wonderfully unexpected. I believe that any local OSS community can adapt these techniques and end up with an outreach effort that makes an immediate, visible, and lasting difference.

Speaker: Sarah Mei

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