Technically Philly’s initiative is a goal, and not in response to any particular incident.
Christina Farr, a reporter for VentureBeat, says that it’s a joke at tech conferences that there’s never a line for the women’s bathroom.
“Tech conferences,” she said, “tend to skew from anywhere from 60 to 70 to up to 90 percent men, and with this dynamic in mind, I think a lot of conference organizers are trying to find ways to make women feel more comfortable actually attending one of these conferences.”
Technically Philly, which puts on Philly Tech Week, says it was with that goal — and not in response to any particular incidents — that it introduced a code of conduct for its gathering next month, clearly stating that harrassment of any form will not be tolerated.
“We don’t have a way to enforce it necessarily but we want to make sure people know — who want to come to the events — that it should be a welcoming environment for anyone,” said Corinne Warnshuis, events coordinator for Technically Philly.
Warnshuis says the group is aware of a couple of high-profile incidents at tech conferences last year and wanted to pre-empt anything like that in Philadelphia.
Other efforts are underway in the city to make tech less of a men’s game.
A group called LadyHacks holds an all-women coding event this weekend. Warnshuis says the hope is once they’re in the door of the tech world, they’ll stick around, possibly changing the culture.
This disclosure, WHYY is a media partner of Philly Tech Week.