Coed:Ethics — Building a New Conference in a New Area

Coed:Ethics will be running in London on the 13th July 2018. Tickets now available to everyone. Diversity attendees half price and an accessibility fund is available on request.

Nearly three years ago, seven of us (women and men) in technology* decided we wanted to do something about the shortage of women in our area: systems engineering.

We could have started another meetup for women, but that’s not the approach we chose. For us, the endgame for tech is to build a diverse sector of people working cooperatively in an interesting, friendly and challenging environment. We created a meetup that reflected that goal. We wanted a group where everyone would be welcome irrespective of gender, colour, age or level of experience. We wanted to learn from great tech speakers and panels representing every part of society. That was how Coed:Code was formed.

But that wasn’t enough. If we want to increase diversity of thought in the industry we need more advocates - more active participants. We need a pipeline. At Coed, we use our panels and talks as a way to give new speakers a safe experience of being on stage and a stepping stone to more public exposure.

We soon realised we wanted to discuss social issues and technology — to consider the wider implications of tech.

This year, I co-chaired a large tech conference in London (QCon) and ran a new track on Ethics in Technology; it went down well. The logical progression of my QCon experience and our Coed one was to run Coed:Code’s first conference on the subject of ethics for technologists. We believe it’s the first of its kind. Because this topic is new and vital, we teamed up with others: Container Solutions, InfoQ magazine, who will be filming everything free, Microsoft, who provided a free venue, and our sponsors Digi2al, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, and the local London Perl community.

But we haven’t forgotten our Coed roots and our purpose. We have a lineup of world-class, mostly female speakers on ethics, psychology and technology. Four of the women on stage will be Coed:Code alumni. We’ll also have an open mic where we’ll encourage participants to stand up on stage for the first time and say what they think — a useful experience that helps people advocate for their opinions in future.

Coed:Ethics has a half price diversity ticket programme for women and other minorities in tech and we hope to see a lot of our Coed:Code members in the audience. This is their conference.

*me, Alexis Richardson, Paula Kennedy, James Governor, Gen Ashley, Jack Martin, Bryan Boreham