I’m helping to organize SQL Saturday #89 in Atlanta. This morning, I looked to see where we were with speakers and submissions. Running through the list, I saw we had 32 speakers. Awesome. Scrolled through again. We had three women. Not awesome.
As of right now, we’re at 35 speakers and 3 of them are women. That’s 8.6% for those keeping track at home. That’s less than 1 in 10 speakers. I just spoke at SQL Saturday #77 in Pensacola, and was the only female speaker. This is not good. This is not the trend I want to see. (By the way, thank you to Melissa Coates (Blog | Twitter), Jen Underwood (Blog | Twitter), and Sarah Barela (Blog | Twitter) for submitting!)
I have a very strong opinion about objectivity in our community. Pick me based on the value of my content, not based on my gender. I’ve said a few times, publicly, that if we just leave smart women to their own devices, gender diversity will work itself out. Wow… That’s just not happening.
What is happening? Was I wrong? Where are we missing the boat? Where are the smart women who are database professionals, and why aren’t they clamoring to submit sessions? You know what’s the worst? I tried to think of someone I could call and say, “Submit already”! I couldn’t think of anyone. That made me angry. Really angry. Ask Aaron Nelson (Blog | Twitter). Poor guy had to listen to me rant (a lot) today. On reflection, I’m mostly angry with myself. I don’t have anyone in mind? I haven’t thought through who I should be encouraging to submit an abstract? Shame on me.
So, I’m stepping off my standard-issue Gender Neutral Soapbox and putting out a call to arms. Ladies, (yes, you… I’m talking to you), submit a session to a SQL Saturday. Get involved! Put yourself out there. Is it scary? Yes. It’s also fun, exhilarating, and rewarding. The first time someone e-mails you to tell you that your presentation taught them something useful, you’ll be hooked. I promise.
Here’s my commitment to any woman who’s trying to decide if she wants to try her hand at presenting and is on the fence: I will be there for you. I’ll review content, help you practice, give you pep talks, whatever you need. There are too few of us out there. Get involved. Help prove me right – that we’re just as capable, just as passionate, and just as ambitious as the boys.