Although particular to gaming cons, this post brings up a good question: what policies do Eclipse conferences espouse that protect (woman) attendees from unwanted interactions? Although I haven’t had my ass groped at EclipseCon I have had some experiences that have left me uncomfortable and a little shaken. I’m not alone here either. I’ve heard stories from at least one other woman attendee relating similar experiences. Being the stubborn loner that I am I never reported them but honestly, if I had wanted to, I’m not sure where I would have reported them too.
Given that we’re typically outnumbered by a very large margin, tech conferences have the potential to be an awkward place for women to be, particularly the shy and introverted ones like me. After a cursory inspection of the EclipseCon and Eclipse Summit websites, I can’t find any policies relating to interpersonal relations (or anything else) whatsoever. Would it be reasonable to expect this from our conference organizers?
I don’t intend this to come off as a flame to either conference or its attendees. The vast, VAST majority of attendees are civil, courteous, intelligent and thoughtful (even Steve) but there is always the possibility of a bad apple. I know from personal experience it would have been reassuring to know there was a policy in place and somewhere to turn if a situation occurred at a conference.