Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why women don't talk enough

So, the call for proposals for PyCon is out and has been out for some time. It's been circulated around. I've personally sent it to a number of women's lists I'm on. So, why don't I see any proposals from women yet? (Besides mine...)

Some reasons I've heard when I've asked women friends over the years about why they haven't proposed a talk:

a. I don't have time
None of us have enough time. I know we women have a lot of "extras" that we do every day and hobbies tend to fall by the wayside. I'm a full-time student at Stanford, with a husband, a house, 2 cats, and a teenager who doesn't want to do his homework. If I can submit a proposal, so can you.

b. I don't know enough
No one knows everything. And if you're closer to the n00b level, you'll understand what a n00b needs to hear better than an expert. Which brings us to:

c. There are experts/package creators there
Even if the creator is there, they may not be speaking, or they may be so deep into the package that they have no idea what real users of the package actually have trouble with and need to know. You do. So tell the rest of us about it. It's okay to have talks about the same package at two different levels!

d. I only use Python for this limited weird niche:
There are a lot of people interested in how to use Python for niches, and the more niches that presenters explore, the more the rest of us learn about the rich breadth of our favorite language.

e. I'm scared to speak in public:
PyCon is one of the friendliest, most tolerant conferences out there. We're all just a bunch of fellow enthusiasts: you're speaking to friends. So get out there and teach us all about something Pythonic that you love. Trust me, before I speak, not only do my knees shake, my *cheeks* shake! (It's hard to speak when your cheeks are shaking - try it sometime. ;-) But people at Pycon are ON YOUR SIDE - they *WANT* you to succeed. So, it's okay if you're a little shaky at the beginning. They'll be polite and listen anyways, because they want to hear about what you're presenting on. And once you've started, you'll be okay. Trust me on this.

So women of Python - please submit your proposals. Don't let the guys have all the fun and glory. I want to see *you* on stage at PyCon!