[hackerspaces] How Do You Bring In Women?

Volatile Compound volatilecompound at gmail.com
Fri Jan 18 19:45:47 CET 2013


Seriously, what I've seen is that people who are interested will turn up;
those who aren't won't. It's not really a case of creating a space that's
<insert noun here>-friendly, but of doing things that makes it worthwhile
for people to be there in the first place.

- skroo.
 On Jan 18, 2013 10:00 AM, "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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