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Pacman pie image Julia Solórzano


Because it works

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the awesome time I had at PyCon 2013. What I failed to mention in that post, was what the community has been doing to ensure that there is awesomeness for all.

Let’s crunch some numbers!

  • 20% of the attendees at PyCon were women
  • 40+ kids, ages 13 to 16 years old, attended the Young Coders tutorials
  • Over 2500 attendees came to this years event, making it the largest Python gathering to date

But what contributed to this diverse and welcoming conference? There are many reasons, but I’d like to point out the top three I feel helped the most.


I attended a panel with varying community leaders titled “Scaling community diversity outreach”. At the end of the panel, someone asked the question on what is the best way to try to engage a more diverse community. Jessica McKellar stated that she found the best solution is by reaching out to individuals and bringing them into the community.

I could not agree more with this sentiment. From my personal experience this year, it has meant a lot more to me to have members of the community reach out directly. I would like to especially thank Jesse Noller, who inspired me to submit a talk proposal in the first place.

Also, PyLadies grants made it possible for those to attend the conference, who otherwise could not because of financial reasons. One of my colleagues from Girl Develop It RDU received one of these grants to come to her first ever PyCon. Because of this, I got to see her face beaming every time I ran into her at the conference!


In the expo hall, there was an amazing presence of many of the women in tech activist groups. PyLadies, the Ada Initiative, Open Hatch and Women Who Code all had booths near each other. It was so cool to watch these spaces become a welcoming hub for all to come together! Each groups activism and support of women in the Python community helps make for a better space for everyone to be in. It was great to see this happening at the conference in real time.

Code of conduct

I have personally done what I can to help make it clear that creating a code of conduct at conferences is imperative. The staff at PyCon greatly understands the importance of having a code of conduct and put that practice to action.

PyCon had two incidents, of which they handled with both care and grace. They were able to react swiftly. The code clearly defined how the conference handles such incidents. Without the code, I am not sure these occurrences would have been handled as well as they did.

These three things are what helped to create a safe and respectful environment at the conference. A place where men, women and children could come together to share their love of Python.

So, guess what folks? It works.