Want to See a More Diverse WordPress Contributor Community? So Do We.

More diverse speakers at WordCamps means a more diverse community contributing to WordPress — and that results in better software for everyone.

The mission of WordPress is to democratize publishing: to make it possible for anyone — no matter their background, location, or identity — to bring their ideas to life on the internet. This mission inspires thousands of volunteers all over the world to contribute to the WordPress open source project, building and supporting the software that makes this possible.

But as in most technology organizations, the people who work on WordPress aren’t always representative of all the people who use WordPress. The majority of WordPress core developers, conference speakers, and other volunteers are young men. That’s where the WordPress Diverse Speaker Training Working Group comes in.

Breaking Down Barriers

A group of WordPress community organizers and volunteers, led by freelance developer Jill Binder, is working to change this. They’ve developed a workshop that trains women and other people from traditionally underrepresented groups in technology who’d like to present at conferences and WordCamps. These training events are organized by local WordPress meetup groups, and are always completely free of charge.

Small groups of women sitting in circles, talking and holding paper
WordPress Vancouver Speaker Training Workshop, 2015

The workshops help attendees address some of the common barriers and fears underrepresented people have around public speaking: “I don’t know what I could speak about.” “I’m not an expert.” “I don’t know how to write a proposal.” “I don’t know how to create a presentation.” “I don’t have any experience speaking in front of groups.”

In 2018, the group supported and advised 55 WordPress communities in 26 different countries. New speakers were trained in 12 different WordPress meetup groups in the US, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, and Venezuela.  

All of the communities that held this workshop experienced a real change in the speaker roster for their annual conferences; many of their WordCamps went from having 10% women speakers to having 50% or more women speakers in less than a year. In 2017, Seattle had 60% women speakers and in 2018, Vancouver had 63%.

Why WordCamps?

A woman holding a microphone, in front of a lot of people with raised hands.
Jill Binder, speaking at a WordCamp

Speaking at WordCamps is a consistent path to leadership in the WordPress community, so having more diverse speakers directly supports the goal of more diverse leadership in the WordPress open source project. WordCamps are where many WordPress enthusiasts choose to become professionals. When more people see speakers like them on stage and feel welcome in the community, a more diverse group of people participate in the WordPress project.

When WordPress events are more diverse, the WordPress project gets more diverse — which makes WordPress better for more people.

Help Us Grow This Work

Jill kicked off the Diverse Speaker Training Working Group at the beginning of 2018, and dedicated a year to it training facilitators and supporting organizers as an unpaid volunteer.

This year, Automattic has signed on as a 50% sponsor of Jill Binder’s diverse speaker outreach and training work. Her work is already making a noticeable impact on the WordPress project, and we want to make this training as accessible as possible to WordCamps globally. Like anything worth doing, this is a marathon and not a sprint — it’ll take time to see a more diverse contributor pool — but we’re dedicated to making sure this necessary groundwork happens.

Would you like to help foster diversity across the WordPress project? Automattic invites interested partners to pick up the other 50% of this project’s costs. Get in touch with Jill today!


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13 Comments

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  1. JanBeek

    Are there workshops available for an 80 year-old WordPress enthusiast participant to learn how to share her joy in blog sharing with other seniors who have something worthwhile to share?

    Liked by 21 people

    • Andrea Middleton

      If your local WordPress meetup is organizing a workshop, then it’s definitely available to you! You can go to https://www.meetup.com/pro/wordpress/ to find your local or nearest WordPress meetup group, and if they don’t have a workshop on the schedule — the meetups that have planned these workshops usually hold it once a year — then I encourage to ask them about organizing one. 🙂

      Liked by 23 people

      • JanBeek

        Thank you. I discovered a group that is only an hour away. I joined on-line. It will be interesting to see if they have face-to-face meetings and if so, how often and where.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Jess Kitching, The Good In Every Day

    This sounds like a brilliant idea!

    Liked by 16 people

  3. Mia Winhertt

    The more diverse a project, the better its reach. Kudos to Jill Binder for taking the initiative for a great step forward in this direction. ☺

    Liked by 23 people

  4. Nathan AM Smith

    Amazing!!! What an incredible idea!!! Thank you for sharing this!!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Britt-Cole

    Love this!! Such a positive idea!!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. deepanilamani

    “The mission of WordPress is to democratize publishing: to make it possible for anyone — no matter their background, location, or identity — to bring their ideas to life on the internet. This mission inspires thousands of volunteers all over the world to contribute to the WordPress open source project, building and supporting the software that makes this possible”

    So glad to hear of all these new “Work Shops”, “Word Camps” and Training groups, especially being free of charge, to break down barriers and to be able to spread out their work/mission in life through WordPress sites. I Dedicated to work against Stigma in “Mental Health” and I am have two websites which are doing well. I am in Brisbane, Australia and unable to attend any of these personally. But I am following all the new ideas and information given. Thanking WordPress for their help and support!

    Liked by 5 people

  7. BOOKSABELLA

    I definitely support and agree with this post! Great idea! I cant wait for it to be executed fully. ☺️☺️☺️

    Liked by 5 people

  8. motherhoodnmedia

    Good for WordPress! Diversity is always a good thing. Especially on a website full of content creators.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. I-AM-SEO (@i_am_seo_london)

    Wow, this is great idea!

    Liked by 7 people

  10. amazinggraceandpersonalspace

    Love this!!

    Liked by 7 people

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