Sunday, March 12, 2006

Gender, Techies and CiviCRM

So, inspired by Christine Herron (, I tried to count the gender respresentation at BarCamp Austin. I can't figure out how she does it... I couldn't get an accurate count, but it certainly was in the 10-15% range that seems consistent with her techie conferece numbers.

But the issue is clearly on the minds of folks... Doc Searls was the official "woman" on the Open Source panel.

Then I did my CiviCRM (open source constitutent relationship management for nonprofits-- database, online donations and mass email) presentation, and low and behold, the percentage of audience jumped to like 40-50% (of maybe 15 or so people). OK, CiviCRM is more relationship based, a little more soft and fuzzy... targets toword nonprofits and online communities... in a stereotypical way it could be considered a bit more gyno-friendly.

This got me wondering. CiviCRM seems to be attractive to a more balanced (in terms of gender) crowd. So how can we market to/ engage with all those "edge" women who might not be participating in technology today, but might engage in some more female-friendly activities like CiviCRM? I don't feel like I have answers, but I sure would like some women to join the CiviCRM community (or women that are already there) and help us figure out how to make it a more friendly and inviting place.

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Uneasy Rhetoric said...

I wonder if it could be because CivicCRM's use skews with the development world which, in my experience, is heavily female. At gatherings of development professionals, I am frequently the only or one of only a handful of men.

Christine Herron said...

It's so interesting how one can raise awareness by something so simple as counting! How cool that you counted at BarCamp. So here's my tips: If the BarCamp signup is reasonably accurate, I'd just count the names there. If not, I highly recommend standing in the back of a keynote, lunch, or some other session where (a) you have most attendees present, and (b) they are mostly sitting down. ;)