Where Are the Women Leaders in WordPress?

WordPress Gender Tug of War

WordCamp Toronto: DevelopersYou might have noticed by my twitter feed yesterday, that I'm attending a really fabulous two-day event on WordPress Development in Toronto, WordCamp: Developers.  I have to thank Caroline and Girl Geeks Toronto for setting me up with a ticket to this event, or else I wouldn't have gone, and that would have been a huge shame.  Honestly, I'm working on becoming a life-time goer to these WordCamp events, 'cause the people behind it are just all kinds of awesome.

I got to learn a few cool tools to better my development skills and grabbed some inspiration for what I could do with future projects, as well as getting a better perspective of who the key players in WordPress are for the Toronto branch (and beyond), so all in all, I'd call this weekend a Win!

There is one discussion that I'd like to share here and get some thoughts on the matter though.

Out of all the speakers at WordCamp Toronto: Developers, there was only one gal in the group.  And this had nothing to do with the organizers' choices, as she was the only one that gave any interest in speaking.  The content developers want more women leaders in WordPress to share their views, but where are they?

Back in August, I spoke at BlogHer '12, discussing how to make the move from Blogger to WordPress with ease, and those who attended left with an eagerness to get the ball moving.  I wasn't afraid, and I had no qualms on speaking to these fantastic female bloggers, so why do I feel like I'd have nothing to say at WordCamp some day?

Because honestly?  The idea currently gives me the heebee-jeebies.

I love sharing ideas.  And I think I'm fairly proficient at WordPress...

And maybe that's the problem word right there: "fairly."  When I take a stand on any given issue, I want my answer to be perfect.  I'm afraid of saying, "I don't know," though this was something that yesterday's speakers didn't worry about.  WordPress is such a big and adaptable CMS, that you really can't know everything there is.

For instance, while getting the low down on the hierarchy of templates, which was something I was unfamiliar with until yesterday, a question came out about category selections in regards to themeing/template design: When you select two or more categories for a post, which one becomes the primary category?

It would be great to get a handle on that if you're themeing based on category, because the main category will be the one choosing what theme to use (unless you utilize the ID of that specific post), and Al Davis of WPTeach didn't know the answer.  He opened it to the floor, and other developers with similar expertise also weren't entirely sure of the answer.

The kicker?  I came across that answer a couple weeks ago, and if I remember correctly: the category with the lowest ID would become the primary category.

I'm not sure if that's true, and in about two minutes I'm going to check, but the point is, I couldn't lift my hand and give my opinion on that question.

And why not?

Easiest answer is that I'm afraid of being wrong.

A few blogging friends of mine had a technical question, that sort of related to WordPress, but was about blogging and SEO as a whole.  I'm not going to divulge the discussion, but I can tell you that even at this very moment I feel a bit anxious over the meager 5% probability of having given them the wrong information, particularly since it counters a popular belief.

Where did this fear come from though?  It's the reason why I never lifted my hand up in school unless I was 110% sure on the answer.  Which meant I could only rely on myself to get the right answer to textbook problems, because I could never lift my hand up to ask a question.

Is it vanity?  Probably yes for me.  I mean, heck, I've plastered pictures of myself on this site a few times in the past, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that there are more to come very soon.  So to some degree I'm vain.

But is this a me thing, or is it something that women share as a whole?  Do we feel the need to be perfect?  With all those beauty ads, and Martha Stewart magazines that show you how you can keep your hair perfectly coiffed while making sure the kiddies are well fed and doing their homework, having the laundry done, the dishes dried, the pets happy, and finding the time to make you nails look like you spend lots on a manicure...

Gender Equality FTWDo we have this deep seeded and highly exploited desire to not set the women's rights movement back 50 years by making ourselves look inferior to our peers as a whole?

I grew up in a very pro-gender-equality home; both sides of my family are massively enlightened and outspoken on women's rights, which in turn made me grow up more as a humanist (instead of a feminist); but despite that upbringing, I still have issues that only let me speak out when I'm on my blog (or Twitter, or Facebook....).

This is something I want to change though.  It's something that needs changing as a whole.  And regardless of my utter and eternal love for conferences like BlogHer, ShesConnected and Blissdom, we need to be seen as leaders on a more gender diverse stage.

Why wasn't I going to go to WordCamp: Developers in the first place?  Why didn't I go to WordCamp Toronto this past September?  I personally need to break these barriers that I put up for myself, and judging by the many popular "women-only (but we do let men in if they want)" groups out there, I don't think I'm the only one.  Do I want these groups to go away?  No.  No way.  I feel the most "at home" when I go and participate, I wouldn't ever dream of these fabulous groups not existing.

But, is it possible that by segregating ourselves, to better ourselves, we've removed ourselves from our goals?

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Aeryn Lynne

The Geek at Geek Life
Living in Superman's Metropolis (aka Toronto, Canada), Aeryn Lynne found a way to entirely over-share everything she loves, and make a career out of it! Ultimately a geek, she waxes poetically over technology, fights for fashion-equality, squees over comic art, and literally sparkles, thanks to her makeup addiction.
Aeryn Lynne

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5 Comments

  1. SnyMed November 4, 2012
    • Aeryn Lynne November 4, 2012
      • SnyMed November 6, 2012
  2. Christine November 4, 2012
  3. Yee Wittle Things November 4, 2012

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