Paris Coders Night and Liam Boogar's complete dismissal of women's issues

Posted by Etiene Dalcol on 25/11/2014 11:45
Hi! I'm Etiene, 26, female, Brazilian, software engineering student in France.

It all began when I found out about this Paris Coders Night event. I was very excited. I'm an exchange student in Britanny and I'm not often tuned on what's going on near me and I don't often have money to attend to conferences and events in another country. So finding this event so close to me (few hours in a train) this weekend seemed really cool. It's supposed to be a programmer's party. You drink, you code, you meet people. Cool.

But then I got a bit hesitant. I've been to tech / geek events before. You all know it's a male dominant environment. Sometimes I am called by "the girl" instead of my real name. I was already asked what the hell was I doing there or if I was someone else's girlfriend. Both these situations happened at Campus Party Brasil. It's often awkward for women to participate in such events and, unfortunately, things seem to be getting worse and not better for us in there.

Please note that 2014 isn't over yet and it has already surpassed 2013 in amount of sexist incidents.

 women in computer science
I intended to use both graphics as two separate examples on how things are critical.
However, I cannot stop thinking that these data are related

 A female computer engineer, according to Mattel
A female computer engineer, according to Mattel.

  I have all of this in mind, plus the fact that I'm currently trying to deal with a case in my university where two douches sent an email to all university students making a """joke""" about collective raping a cheerleader and so far nothing happened to them. Sometimes I don't even have words to describe this situation.

So, I started taking a look at Paris Coders Night website to see what was their position on this kind of incident. Unfortunately I found no information. There was no Code of Conduct, nor an anti-harassment policy. And I don't want to spend my money to buy train tickets and the entrance fee only to arrive there and find lap dancers and condoms being distributed. As I'm not interested in being rubbed or fucked in some event but actually coding and meeting people, I got concerned about the total lack of information on which behaviors are welcome or not according to the organizers. As besides Deezer, mobiskill, PayPal, mailjet and HumanCoders they have Girls in Tech Paris as a partner, I thought it was a possibility that they did care but they overlooked the importance of this issue, which is very clearly explained by Ada Initiative. They provided twitter as a contact method, so I decided to tweet them. I'll post some of the tweets here, but you can see the full convo later.
So far so good, I thought they would go for "thanks for the suggestions, we'll take a look into it." but no. Not in my wildest dreams. Instead, what I got as response was:

"I even know women who were not harassed!!1!"
Am I supposed to say "good boy"?
At this moment I was speechless. What did they want? A golden medal for not having reports of women harassed in one of their events? I'm really glad that as I far as I know everyone is fine. But this is called reassuring and prevention. Then the organizer of .concat(), a conference yet to take place in Austria, intervened: Captura de Tela 2014-11-25 às 09.42.53
Which was then followed by a series of incredibly misplaced tweets from @LiamBoogar, editor of RudeBaguette, the event's organizer, including: Captura de Tela 2014-11-25 às 09.48.59
"I've only just heard of this CoC today"

Let's just sit on this: "I've only just heard of this CoC today". I mean, does he really call himself an event organizer? What the hell? Ok, let's suppose he's "learning" (even though he later claimed to participating in the organization of events that gathered 5000+ attendees in 2014), he could just read the text by Ada Initiative and put a little thought on it before dismissing my suggestion entirely. This worries me a lot, because if the organization of an event doesn't want to take the time to copy paste one paragraph into their website, I do wonder, what could possibly happen if a real issue was to be solved by their hands? Probably with the same dismissal! I mean, this is the simplest thing they could do! Why won't they? And as if this was not enough, he goes on: Yes, because we often have issues with lhama gropers in tech events.
Yes, because we often have issues with lhama gropers in tech events.
Captura de Tela 2014-11-25 às 10.09.14
"CoC is marketing". "CoC implies other events are not safe".
Captura de Tela 2014-11-25 às 10.09.45
"Were I ever to have a minor complaint, I might consider action." -> unless it's not your problem
"Follow us on twitter for photos post-event" -> omg, how pathethic

So after I tell him that now I'm afraid to attend to his event and I've settled for not going anymore, he decides the best to do is to keep on denial acting like a douche and send me a bot-like reply. I mean, who the fuck cares if a woman is afraid to attend to your event, right? Classy.


I tried to organize all tweets involved in this convo in chronological order: FULL CONVERSATION HERE. For this compilation I used Lua, Sailor and Ignacio's LuaOAuth module to communicate with Twitter API.

For an inspiring insight about diversity in technology, I recommend watching this video by Lena Reinhard on diversity in open source.