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Taking The Pledge

I formally take The Pledge:

At a public conference I won’t serve on a panel of two people or more unless there is at least one woman on the panel, not including the Chair.

I want more diversity in tech and in the world. I pledge to try to make diversity a reality, and then to keep trying.

It’s time to pass the mic.

I love speaking in public. I love being the center of attention, being seen as an expert. I want to be chosen for all the talks I apply to. But there are thousands of women, people of color, and people in underrepresented groups who deserve to be up on that stage just as much or more than I do.

Enough.

I can take being turned down for a talk because of my gender. Women have dealt with that experience since the dawn of civilization. It’s time to let others take the mic.

I will still apply to speak at conferences. If accepted, I will be a vocal advocate for equal representation on stage.

Join me. Take the pledge. Be an advocate for change. Write about it, tweet about it. Make your pledge and the world will change sooner than we know.

WordPress is a small community with a big heart. Let’s make this happen. It can be scary to take a stand, but you will be okay.


Take the pledge. Commit to change.


Progress

There is progress being made, which I want to acknowledge.

WordSesh is a conference leading the way by featuring mostly experts who are women. And the lineup of talks is great.

WordCamps are getting better every year for closing the gender gap in speakers, in large part due to improved guideance by WordCamp Central.

A list of worries

Taking a pledge is scary: I am making a public promise. I want to share the concerns I felt while writing this post. I hope it shows that it’s okay to be afraid. I was able to move past that fear and so can you.

Here were my some of my worries:

  • If I take the pledge, I am at risk of being called out in the future.
  • People will say I’m “social signaling”.
  • Other men will get mad at me for calling them out.
  • What if I write about gender or race using terms that are not correct or misread?
  • What if I’m no longer invited to speak because I’m a white man?
  • What if I’m not good enough to speak once there are 100% more people (a whole half of the population) applying to talk?
  • I don’t want people to call me reverse sexist.
  • My team is all men. Am I being a hypocrite?
  • I don’t want to invite abuse online to me or to others who agree with me.
  • What if I am scorned socially? Not invited to parties, etc?
  • The resources list isn’t fleshed-out at all. Will I be called uninformed or underprepared to discuss gender inequality?

Even if the concerns I had are valid (most are not!), they are just thoughts. I choose to let the fear go and try to be better where I can.

I want nerds who aren’t white men to have as much voice as I do.

If I get blowback from people who don’t want more women speakers, I can handle it. I want nerds who aren’t white men to have as much voice as I do.

Resources

By Zack Katz

Zack Katz is the creator of GravityView and the President of Katz Web Services. He lives in Denver with his wife and cute beast of a cat.