I’ve been thinking about something lately. Nowadays, I read more about ideas to organize events that cater to minority audiences like women in certain branches (like tech) or colored folks in certain branches (like tech). To some extent it has even been executed.
I understand that these efforts serve to draw members of these minority groups into the playing field and to grant them an accessible stage to share whatever they have to offer.
Personally, I believe that we should focus our energy on getting more of the supposed minority group members into the regular events , but not simply for the sake of being a member of the group but by merit of their expertise.
Just invite more women to speak at tech conferences, grant more members of other minority groups —whether minority means: foreign, colored, non-academic, female or non Klingon speaker, for that matter— stage time at your regular events. That could pretty much do it.
Creating separate events is only reinforcing that sense of segregation that some may feel there is because people already do quite well in developing a postive bias for members of their group (whatever that may be) and this is commonly referred to as in-group/out-group bias.
Even babies may naturally discriminate, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Sticking with the folks you relate to may been the reason the human race survived the perils of the wild. Bottomline is that setting up a blockparty for members of the same in-group most likely will not result to a significant alteration of subliminally-kept notions within that group because it provides little opportunity for understanding and appreciating the qualities and views of the other groups beyond.
In-group/out-group bias may explain why male coders think higher of female coders. It's most likely a group because of many reasons which may include a lack of social skill in communicating with the opposite sex, a certain sense of humor and the fear to offend... So guess what... The boys stick together because they understand one another easily. You don't get girl coders well integrated into the group until both parties start to learn how to understand and appreciate another, and generally you don't accomplish them by having organizing a rally for the girls. No, just have them work together and discuss the intricacies of their interactions.
It’s great to address these issues so please continue, but keep the discussion open. Don’t market it as an event for group $x$, because many of the great minds of group $y$ and $z$ will not just invite themselves.
Not spewing fire , but I believe that whatever is said at TEDx Women should be said on regular TEDx events, by women. Just grant them the mainstage at the main event, but then again... I'm just a simple engineer talking about something that would be considered the domain of social psychologists. What do I know . *shrugs*
Don’t do it for me, because I get in wherever and I’m far too easy. I’m just sharing my 2 cents here because I believe the world’s efforts to grant people a stage could be executed more effectively.
Ran into this video online which is quite nice to listen to, just give it a try and if you're into gaming , you'll have something to watch as well.