Diversity at DDD Melbourne

DDD Melbourne is an inclusive non-profit conference for the entire software community. Our goal is to create an approachable event that appeals to the whole community, especially people who usually don’t have the opportunity to attend, or speak at, conferences.

The content of this report is focused on gender balance specifically. We have not collected details on other underrepresented minorities at this time. We try to request as little personal information as possible from speakers and attendees as we care deeply about your privacy.

We want to do better in the way we gather information to track our progress. This year we have adjusted some of our questions. We chose to change our gender question to an open text field so that we do not exclude non-binary individuals. We have also introduced questions on age range and levels of experience. All of these are optional. We look forward to sharing this years stats with you after the conference.

Speaker Diversity

In 2016 we received 0 talk submissions from females... The team was deeply upset and disappointed about this and hold ourselves fully accountable. Major changes were introduced to make sure this never happens again.

2017 speaker stats for DDD Melbourne

We are very proud of increasing our percentage of female speakers from 0 to 26% in one year! We know that it is going to take a lot of continued work to maintain/improve upon this as we scale. Below are some of the changes we have made and I hope they can help other conferences to make improvements.

Changes to the speaker process:

  • Introducing a private talk submission channel as not everyone is comfortable submitting their talk to public vote
  • Allowing shorter talk times (20 mins)
  • Making it clear that we allow multiple speakers in a presentation
  • Option of speaking on a dedicated JuniorDev track
  • Reaching out to underrepresented groups directly to encourage speaking
  • Providing a Talk Topic Idea workshop with JuniorDev
  • Providing speaker training
  • Travel budget for interstate speakers if costs are prohibitive

Attendee Diversity

We recognise that to improve the diversity balance of participants we needed to focus on removing exclusion. The conference is a community event with a supportive atmosphere and we realised that we needed to formalise that in our Code of Conduct and our enforcement procedures while also creating awareness of the conference outside of the regular channels.

Not considering the 19–22% who preferred not to specify

Our ratios dipped slightly in 2016 when we made specifying gender optional and 22% of people chose not to specify. We are happy to say that even though we scaled our size from 295 in 2016 to 470 in 2017, our ratio doubled. We most definitely have a long way to go and are constantly learning. We would like to share some of the improvements we have made to improve inclusion.

Inclusion efforts:

  • An enforceable Code of Conduct with clear reporting options
  • A clear enforcement guide to all event organisers and volunteers
  • Opportunity program to ensure ticket cost is not a barrier
  • Reserved Diversity ticket pool to ensure the speed at which our tickets sell out does not exclude underrepresented groups
  • Free childcare available onsite
  • Increased diversity of speakers as well as topics

Thank you for your interest in this hugely important topic. DDD is your conference, it is a conference for the community and it is our responsibility as organisers to make it the best it can be. We appreciate your support.

Our call for papers is currently open so submit a session!

Inspired by JSConf /CSSConf’s Diversity Report and Levels Conf’s Report