AdaCamp Takeaways for Women & Mozilla

It’s been a busy three weekends, with Makerfaire, AdaCamp and now wrapping up the Mozilla Summit Assembly in Paris (très bien) .

Busy or not, I would be sad to miss the opportunity to  write about Adacamp’s influence on me as a women developer in open source, but also with mind to running more inclusive Webmaker and FireFox OS events as a Mozilla Rep.  Of course, inspiring more women contributors to Mozilla(WoMoz) is a high goal as well, and I had some thoughts on that  as well.

By the way – WoMoz is a Mozillian community self-described as:

“a community composed of members from different Open Source projects. We are mainly dedicated to improving women’s visibility and involvement in Free/Open Source and Mozilla, and to increase the number of women contributors.”

“Anyone can participate in this project, regardless of sex, age, job, etc. We are united by the common goal of promoting women’s visibility and involvement in open source communities.”

AdaCamp Takeaway / Braindump

  • Idea: Highlighting women in Mozilla is a good goal, and could be done via Womoz Website through community nomination/submissions  telling the story of inspiring women in Mozilla.
  • For Webmaker events, consider running more women/all girls events to start, and continue discussions on women in open source, as well as  the importance of diversity in open communities.
  • There is something powerful about arriving at an event, where diversity is expected.
  • I loved how AdaCamps put a dedicated ‘road’ for movement in and out of rooms – a kind message that an accessible event is an inclusive one.   I loved the powerful message that every.single.person at Adacamp had equal value. It felt good to be there.
  • Privacy as an event-design is awesome.  AdaCamp has red/yellow/red lanyards to reflecting a participants willingness to be photographed created a comfort in the room I haven’t seen before.  A good takeaway, for running any Mozilla event, but also (and especially) events with youth and children: consider photography as a privacy issue but make it easy for everyone.
  • Unconferences are a great way to meet others with similar interests BUT it’s good to have themes of celebration as well as overcoming and problem solving.   I had some great discussions with various communities, but felt drained and a little sad towards the end.  No shortage of inspiration, but really would love to have felt  ‘celebration’ as a key theme.
  • Childcare at conferences is SO GREAT – many family homes have both parents working.  I was able to bring one of my daughters which meant less reliance on my husband to ‘cover my absence’ AND I had some special one-on-one time with my daughter who was having a birthday the next weekend.   Not all hackers, and tech focused people are 24 yr old Foosball table aficionados , there are families too.
  • Mentors bring value to everything – Mozilla Reps proves this, Mozilla Webmaker is empowering this – and I think AdaCamp could have taken advantage of a Mentor track/focus somewhere….  The main AdaCamp into  session was labled: ‘Imposter Syndrome’, but  represented where *I came from*, and not really where I am now.  It took me a long, long, long , long, long time to become confident in my opinion, and imagine there were others who could have played  mentor roles.
  • Honestly, accept that there are different influences in our world that aren’t bad (like motherhood) that make our paths different, and sometimes it’s OK to not compare ourselves to men, but to better look at supporting women on their unique paths (wherever they may lead).  Articles like THIS ONE, to me really dumb-down what is a very complex and personalized issue.