[hackerspaces] How Do You Bring In Women?

Russell Hubbard russell at vieinnovative.com
Fri Jan 18 19:22:45 CET 2013

I imagine getting a huge backlash for having the temerity to open my mouth
right now, but could I ask that everyone stop forking the thread for each
reply? I'm trying to ignore the whole thing but every time I check there's
another fresh thread debating the same things. I think we have 6 forks now,
please just respond to an existing one.

My fingerprints are on Mars.
On Jan 18, 2013 1:00 PM, "Zack Freedman" <magikazoc at gmail.com> wrote:

> It seems like many hackerspaces get women through the doors but scare them
> off. The MakerBar has a slightly different problem - women simply never
> show up in the first place!
> Of the 750+ people who have come through our doors, perhaps ten have been
> women. I'm wondering how to increase this.
> I can't figure out why - our marketing mix of Twitter, Meetup organic
> traffic, flyer campaigns, word-of-mouth, and presenting at relevant
> Meetups/collectives have worked wonders, but are only bringing in dudes.
> None of these are really male-oriented, which makes the results odd.
> We run two open houses a week, sell off-the-shelf and custom soldering
> kits, have two beginner/intermediate classes on Arduino, RasPi, etc per
> month, and have a social/games night every month. Our members do
> programming, woodworking, electronics, soft circuits, circuit bending, etc.
> Interest and attendance have been at an all-time high, but again, all male.
> So, I'm wondering what the MakerBar needs to do to get a better balance.
> Are there events/classes that attract more women? What marketing
> works/turns off women? Might our location in a converted warehouse be
> scaring girls away? Is this even a problem?
> Women of the hackerspace universe, how did you find out about your current
> space? What event brought you in?
> For what it's worth, our 'stickiness' with women may even be better than
> men. Of those ~10 women who've shown up, one is a member and two are
> diehard class and open-house addicts who come back very often. Almost all
> of our members are married or in committed relationships; either way, we're
> a pretty classy and non-creeper bunch that I can't see scaring anyone away.
> It must be awkward being the only girl at a space, and I'd like to get a
> critical mass to make anyone, no matter what demographic, more comfortable.
> --
> Zack Freedman // MakerBar // Hardware Hacker from the Near Future
> _______________________________________________
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> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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