Finally — A Family Friendly Conference

The Anita Borg Institute issued a press release today saying that full childcare will be offered at the next Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) (in October in Orlando). Says the release:

A technical conference, GHC is the largest gathering of women in computing in the United States. Childcare is a relatively new and unique offering at a technical conference, typically dominated by men.

As Deanna Kosaraju, GHC Program Manager at the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, points out:

We recognize that many women have multiple jobs and we are leading on this issue to find creative ways to help our women-technologist care for their families as well as their professional and technical development. The GHC conference is a signal to other technical conferences and to industry that in order to attract, retain and advance women the culture of computing needs to change.

This childcare will span the entire length of the conference, including all keynotes, sessions, and banquets, etc. But it’s not just women who benefit. This benefits:

  1. Anyone who has a child ages zero and up. Presumably by the time your children area 18, this isn’t an issue anymore, but if you’ve got kids who can’t be ‘home alone,’ and you’re the primary caregiver, chances are you’ve missed out on some career-building events in your life. With more childcare in strategic places (and that includes companies), you stand to lose far fewer opportunities. This includes mothers as well as fathers, though women report far more responsibility for taking care of kids than do men.
  2. Everyone else. Diversity along all conceivable axes – and those we haven’t even conceived of yet – is key to innovation. A multitasking parent can be a tremendous source of innovation. Tech conferences and other centers of innovation are wise to be more inclusive of this potential.

Now – if those conferences like Web 2.0 and the other O’Reilly conferences start offering childcare, they might actually get women to attend, not to mention to speak. SAP: are we next?

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