Be Counted: follow-up

This is a guest post from Annina Rust, one of the developers of Be Counted. She is an Assistant Professor of Computer Art in the Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University.

Hello again!

A bit more than a year ago, I wrote a guest post on this blog about a project I and other collaborators were releasing called “Be Counted – A survey of gender distribution at tech events”. It is a web database where anyone can report how many women, men, and others were present at a technology event. You can find it here:  There was quite a bit of enthusiasm surrounding the project but that has now petered out. Therefore, it is time to start the next phase of the project and critically evaluate, then improve the project.

This is where you can help: Any kind of feedback on the existing project is appreciated – even if you have not previously submitted a gender ratio report to Be Counted. One question that specifically interests me is knowing what would help you submit gender ratio reports to Be Counted. Also, I would like to find out what other quantitative data about gender and the tech environment you would be interested in collecting/contributing. Please reply in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Be Counted: follow-up

  1. Alan Bell

    People running events will do anything they can in advance of the date that has a chance to promote their event, but after it has happened any further activity on it is just work. Also, after the event, it is a bit hard to work out the numbers if they were not counted at the time. I think it would be worth investigating the possibility of allowing organisers to put up details in advance of the event, with a link to the event’s booking page and allow organisers to keep the totals updated as registrations come in and publish a final figure after the event (it would be fascinating to compare registration ratios vs attendance ratios).
    Another point is that so far not many men have participated in the counting (I am half of them), however the conference attendees have an unsurprising male bias. One way to expand your pool of counters would be to think more about getting the chaps to do the counting.

    1. Annina

      Thanks for the feedback & ideas! I agree that the project needs to find chaps to do the counting. Other than contacting organizers (as you so helpfully suggested), how could men be motivated to contribute?

      1. Alan Bell

        Do I spot a hidden implication there that the organisers would be men? Actually might be worth trying to find out how many conferences do have women organising them or on the organising committee, probably a more interesting thing to track than the gender of the submitter as it might have a direct bearing on the attendees.

        1. Annina

          If there is a hidden implication that organizers would be men, it was certainly not intended.

          I was just curious to find out if anyone could think of other places, forums etc. where contributors, particularly men, could be found and motivated to contribute.

          I agree that it would be a good idea to track the genders of the organizers or organizing committee of an event to see how that affects gender diversity among participants in the event.

          The reason why Be Counted tracks the gender of contributor is for the purpose of transparency and self-reflection. Also, the gender of the contributor is not displayed along with the event that s/he contributed.

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