Grants:PEG/Ada Initiative, Inc./AdaCamp DC Funding/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2011-12 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?

Yes.

Activities[edit]

AdaCamp was a 2-day unconference with 100 attendees. Activities included round-table discussion in over 65 sessions, lightning talks, and topic-specific dinner outings.

Most of AdaCamp DC was in unconference format. People suggested sessions topics and went to the sessions they were most interested in. Many of the sessions were round-table discussions, but exceptions included a Python tutorial, a self-defense lesson, and a presentation on the GNOME Outreach Program for Women.

Lunch was an hour and a half long, allowing longer, more casual conversations. Each day ended with a feedback session. The first evening, people went out to dinner in groups of about 8, organized around interests such as operating systems, yarn and fiber arts, and hackerspaces. Dinner sponsors included Azavea, Facebook, Red Hat, Wikimedia Foundation, Intel, and Mozilla. We held 15 minutes of lightning talks on the second day.

We ran over 65 sessions over 2 days, and over 40 of the sessions were documented in Pirate Pad. One attendee wrote, “I attended sessions on Imposter Syndrome, Burn Out, Lifehacking, and Setting Boundaries and Saying No. It was AWESOME. I arrived at AdaCamp well aware that I am currently burnt out and have difficulty setting boundaries, but I had no idea 1) just how burnt out I am, 2) the extent to which Imposter Syndrome affects me on a daily basis, 3) how much I desperately needed to attend these sessions, 4) how many other women have experienced similar issues and therefore have useful advice.I feel as if I’ve returned to my regular life with dramatically increased motivation and clarity. Thank you!”

The Impostor Syndrome session was so popular that it ran four separate times. Connie Berardi says, “I had no idea how prevalent imposter syndrome was among women. It was mind-blowing to see these movers and shakers in our industry relate to feeling unaccomplished. When the entire room raised their hands to declare war on this phenomenon, I was truly moved. I might have come alone… but I left with an army.”

Another attendee wrote, “[One of the best things about AdaCamp was] learning about imposter syndrome and making the connection of how we hold other women back by not promoting our knowledge — whether written, in media or by teaching. Also evaluating the language we use in this area, to be sure we are sounding confident and not making disclaimers. Hugely important stuff — probably life altering in my case.”

All of the session notes were transferred to the Geek Feminism wiki by Sara Smollett, where they will be migrated into long-term pages as appropriate.

Project goal and measures of success[edit]

Project goal[edit]

The primary goal of AdaCamp DC was to increase women's participation and status in Wikimedia projects, open source software, open data, open government, fan/remix culture, and similar fields. This year the focus was on Wikimedia projects, due to our co-location with Wikimania 2012. Attendance was by invitation and attendees were selected from qualified applicants through an open invitation process. Attendance was open to people of all genders. The goals of AdaCamp DC were to bring people in open technology and open culture fields together to build community, discuss issues women have in common across open technology and culture fields, and find ways to address them. AdaCamp DC and the mission of The Ada Initiative encompasses Wikimedia and related projects.

Measures of success[edit]

Results of our survey taken after AdaCamp DC (45% response rate)[edit]

Survey responses from AdaCamp attendees were overwhelmingly positive, with often more than 90% agreeing with positive statements about AdaCamp. This is only part of our survey results; we asked many other questions of our attendees that were of interest only to the next AdaCamp (like questions about the venue).

Did you attend Wikimania? 31% Yes 69% No
AdaCamp increased my network in women in open tech/culture 68% Strongly Agree 32% Agree
I feel like I am part of a community of women in open tech/culture as a result of attending AdaCamp 61% Strongly Agree 32% Agree
I got a greater understanding of the issues facing women in open tech/culture at AdaCamp 60% Strongly Agree 34% Agree
Attending AdaCamp has increased my commitment to participate in open tech/culture 70% Strongly Agree 21% Agree
Rating of quality of sessions 31% Very Good 61% Good
Rating of quality of food served 73% Very Good 21% Good
How well were your goals in attending AdaCamp met? 67% Very Well 26% Well
I would recommend AdaCamp to others 91% Definitely Recommend 7% Probably Recommend

Diversity[edit]

About 100 people attended, who lived in at least 10 countries, including Japan, India, Myanmar, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Australia, the UK, Canada, and the US.

We worked hard to make AdaCamp DC diverse in many different ways. Some statistics from our post-conference survey (45% response rate):

  • 25% listed their race or ethnicity as other than white or Caucasian
  • 28% were born outside the United States
  • 19% spoke a language other than English as their first language
  • 49% were not employed as programmers or IT specialists
  • 22% were students, professors or researchers

AdaCamp DC welcomed people of all genders and sexuality. From one attendee: “I LOVED learning about new things and the diversity of attendees. I found the prominence of the LGBTQ community very inspiring.”

Women of all ages are creating and using open technology and culture and we were happy to have a wide range of ages at AdaCamp. About one quarter of attendees were 25 years of age or younger, and about one fifth were over 40 years of age, with the remainder evenly distributed between ages 26 to 40. Our youngest attendee was 18 years of age.

Blog posts[edit]

7 people wrote 9 blog posts about their AdaCamp experiences.

Pamela Chestek, an intellectual property expert at Red Hat, wrote about AdaCamp for OpenSource.com. “The beauty of a conference for people who are all part of a large minority within in a field is that no one had to be that “representative.”We were free to ask questions about things we didn’t know or didn’t understand, without carrying the weight of an entire group of people on our shoulders. Which meant that we could learn more and explore more—which meant that all of us walked away knowing something (and probably a lot of somethings) we didn’t know before.”

Fembot Collective posted a comprehensive overview of AdaCamp, including a collection of favorite quotes. “Some of my favorite quotes included: [...] If you feel worthy to attend the imposter syndrome session, please go to…”

Máirín Duffy wrote three blog posts, AdaCamp: The Magic Wand Session (Day 1, Session 1), AdaCamp: Kill Yer Boss and Take His Job (Day 1, Session 2), and AdaCamp: Geek Moms (Day 1, Session 3). From “Kill Yer Boss”: “Despite the provocative name, this wasn’t a session about murder. [...] The main goal was to talk about why there is a ‘glass ceiling’ for women who have ambitions to work their way up the corporate ladder, and to brainstorm some strategies for busting through it.”

Andrea Horbinski, committee chair of the Organization for Transformative Works, wrote about her experience at AdaCamp DC. From her list of takeaways: “Destroy all silos. Open stuff is not served by people not communicating, or by people remaining in their (literal or metaphorical) bunkers and silos working solely on their own thing.”

Chit Thiri Maung, a Mozilla Rep from Myanmar, wrote about her trip to AdaCamp DC. “I was used to live ‘Listen and [Agree]‘ environment. But during this AdaCamp they teach me [ideas like] ‘Stand Up and Speak out’ for our Opinion.”

OpenGeo blogged about all the open tech/culture conferences their employees attended this summer. Camille Acey attended AdaCamp DC. “She felt privileged to be a among 100 women from around the world selected to attend the event. The conference was highlighted by two-days of illuminating discussions and brainstorming sessions on initiatives to increase the involvement and status of women in ‘open stuff’. She brought back many ideas and suggestions that we’re eager to hear more about.”

Netha Hussain, a medical student and active Wikipedian, wrote about her trip to the U.S. for AdaCamp and Wikimania: “Flying 19 hours with 7 hour transit just for a three day stay at the US is worth it only if you are planning to do something big. My three day trip to the US, with two of the days spent at the Ada Camp was worth it as every moment spent with the Ada campers was highly stimulating.”

Press[edit]

Reporters really wanted to write about Jimmy Wales' and Sue Gardner's talks at Wikimania and Kate Middleton's dress, but we managed to wangle a few mentions in the press. :)

Male-dominated Wikipedia Community Encouraged to Reach Out to Women Hispanic Business

Wikipedia seeks to close reader-editor gender gap Gulf Times

Jimmy Wales, Mary Gardiner address Wikipedia's gender gap at Wikimania conference The Verge

Wikimania 2012 tackles diversity issues Wikinews

How Kate Middleton’s Wedding Gown Demonstrates Wikipedia’s Woman Problem Slate

Public reports[edit]

The Ada Initiative wrote two public reports on AdaCamp:

AdaCamp DC Preliminary Report

AdaCamp DC final report: “The experience profoundly changed me”

Achievement of specific goals[edit]

This grant is part of a program to achieve the following goals of the Wikimedia foundation: Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, and Diversified Participation. In this section we make direct connections between these goals and AdaCamp accomplishments.

Diversified Participation[edit]

AdaCamp focused on increasing gender diversity in open tech/culture. Wikimedia project participants are estimated to be around 10-20% women, depending on project and language, so this is an important goal.

According to our surveys, about 30-35% of AdaCamp attendees were Wikimedians. These Wikimedians used AdaCamp as an opportunity to network about key gender issues in the Wikimedia movement. Subsequent activities of attendees indicate they have deepened and renewed their commitment to diversifying participation in Wikimedia projects as a result. Of the Wikimedian attendees who responded to our survey, 85% said AdaCamp increased their commitment to open tech/culture (with 15% not changing their level of commitment - we're guessing because it was already really high as many WMF employees attended). A number of sessions at AdaCamp focused on discussions about tactics for addressing Wikipedia's gender gap. Wikimedia-related topics and tactics that were showcased in these discussions include the Teahouse project and inclusion-focused design of online spaces, WikiWomen's edit-a-thons and lessons-learned for creating workshops that accomodate diverse participation from a variety of women (primary parents, people with disabilities, etc.) and the importance of using invitation and supportive circles of women for encouraging more women to edit Wikipedia. Some of the documented sessions with material relevant to increasing women's participation in Wikipedia include Women editing Wikipedia, Hacking the Gender Gap, Changing Our Language, Open stuff for social change, Building More Open Organizations Where Women (and Others!) Can Join, Grow, and Excel, Moms - Solutions and spaces.

At least 7 WMF employees and contractors attended and learned how to improve women's participation in Wikimedia projects, including: Gayle Karen Young, Siko Bouterse, Sarah Stierch, Anasuya Sengupta, Sara Smollett, Jesse Wild, and Katie Horn.

Subsequent Wikimedia activities informed by these discussions at AdaCamp include:

  • The creation of the WikiWomen's Collaborative led by WMF fellow Sarah Stierch and supported by WMF staffer Siko Bouterse, both AdaCamp attendees, and joined by a number of other AdaCampers.
  • Attendee Netha Hussain has become a leader in women's outreach for Wikimedia following AdaCamp. After the conference she wrote an article for Forbes about the importance of women editing Wikipedia, she became the most active volunteer for the WikiWomen's Collaborative, and she is active in developing programs for women's outreach in India.

We don't know how many AdaCamp attendees joined specific Wikimedia groups, but in excess of 95% remain on the AdaCamp alumni mailing list, suggesting that AdaCamp created long-term commitment. Several AdaCamp attendees have attended Wikimedia-related events in the months since.

Co-locating AdaCamp with Wikimania was at least partially responsible for the adoption of a Friendly Space policy at Wikimania, the first Wikimania to do so. Many people felt emboldened by the co-location and sponsorship by WMF of AdaCamp to push for and adopt the policy, including several AdaCamp attendees and organizers. This policy encourages diverse participation by educating people about specific actions that cause women and other underrepresented groups to feel unwelcome at conferences, telling people not to do them, and telling people how to report them.

Increased Reach[edit]

AdaCamp increased the reach of Wikimedia projects by educating approximately 60 women at AdaCamp who were not previously Wikimedia community members about the breadth of Wikimedia projects and the need for women's participation. These include women in areas Wikimedia is struggling to reach, including many educators at the university level and below. Here again is the data we collected on the diversity of AdaCamp attendees:

  • 25% listed their race or ethnicity as other than white or Caucasian
  • 28% were born outside the United States
  • 19% spoke a language other than English as their first language
  • 49% were not employed as programmers or IT specialists
  • 22% were students, professors or researchers

These include women in influential positions in communities that Wikimedia Foundation is seeking more engagement with. A few examples:

  • Andrea Horbinski, committee chair of the Organization for Transformative Works (manages an archive for fan works)
  • Sara Snyder, Webmaster, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
  • Kendra Albert, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
  • Barbara Hui, California Digital Library and Public Knowledge Project
  • Sarah Cordivano, City of Philadelphia, Office of Innovation and Technology
  • Amanda French, THATCamp coordinator and professor at George Mason University

Increased Credibility[edit]

AdaCamp DC trained several Wikimedians in handling sexist incidents in a way that increases public confidence in the Wikimedia community and Wikimedia processes. Several people credited the co-location of AdaCamp with the lack of negative publicity involved in the handling of a violation of the Friendly Space policy during Wikimania 2012. Similar incidents have created a great deal of negative press for both the conference and its sponsors. With the assistance of AdaCamp attendees at each step, the conference organizers successfully handled the incident in a positive manner that upheld the Friendly Space policy. This avoided a potential decrease of credibility for Wikimedia projects, and increased the reputation of the Wikimania conference.

Lessons learned[edit]

What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects?

Control over conference space[edit]

We discovered that parts of our conference venue were used frequently by employees of the company that owned the space. People often walked through the area, which reduced our goal of creating a safe space for discussion. Some outside people ate our food! When we tried to stop people from walking through the conference space, the company refused to enforce it. Next time, we will make sure that physical control of the conference space is in our contract.

Gender neutral bathrooms[edit]

Similarly, we wanted control over the bathrooms, in particular the ability to change bathrooms to gender-neutral and women, since we were 96% female and some attendees wanted gender-neutral bathrooms. It turned out that we didn't have control over the bathrooms and weren't allowed to re-assign them, again because the owning company's employees frequently used them. Next time we will put the ability to change the assignment of bathrooms in our contract.

Professional day-of coordinator[edit]

We originally hired a conference organizer who was not up to the task, although she came highly recommended. As the conference neared, it became clear we needed to hire a day-of coordinator or else we would not be able to coordinate food delivery, furniture delivery, and similar tasks, despite having around 30% volunteer participation. Day-of coordinators tend to be expensive because we are competing with the wedding market. We did get a non-profit discount, though. Next time we will plan on a professional, relatively expensive day-of coordinator.

What impact did the project have on WMF mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

About the AdaCamp DC attendees[edit]

(This is repeated information from the previous "Diversity" section to avoid creating links within the document)

About 100 people attended, who lived in at least 10 countries, including Japan, India, Myanmar, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Australia, the UK, Canada, and the US.

We worked hard to make AdaCamp DC diverse in many different ways. Some statistics from our post-conference survey (45% response rate):

  • 25% listed their race or ethnicity as other than white or Caucasian
  • 28% were born outside the United States
  • 19% spoke a language other than English as their first language
  • 49% were not employed as programmers or IT specialists
  • 22% were students, professors or researchers

AdaCamp DC welcomed people of all genders and sexuality. From one attendee: “I LOVED learning about new things and the diversity of attendees. I found the prominence of the LGBTQ community very inspiring.”

Women of all ages are creating and using open technology and culture and we were happy to have a wide range of ages at AdaCamp. About one quarter of attendees were 25 years of age or younger, and about one fifth were over 40 years of age, with the remainder evenly distributed between ages 26 to 40. Our youngest attendee was 18 years of age.

Many people were inspired and re-energized by AdaCamp DC, and left with new motivation to both participate in open tech/culture and to work to make it more supportive of women. One attendee told us, “The experience profoundly changed me. I’m looking into volunteer and educational opportunities that I would not have considered before attending AdaCamp. And I really want to share what I’m doing.” Another says, “[One of the best things about AdaCamp was] learning about imposter syndrome and making the connection of how we hold other women back by not promoting our knowledge [...] Hugely important stuff — probably life altering in my case.”

Leslie Birch says, “I’m leaving with new tools like IRC, bug trackers and mentor lists. I have a new found desire to reach out to other women that identify as “geek”, “feminist” or both. And most of all, I’ve created partnerships that will lead to exciting workshops at our hacker space.” Another attendee says, “AdaCamp was a phenomenal event! I’m grateful to the Ada Initiative and AdaCamp attendees for helping me stay inspired to fight for open tech, open culture, and women’s involvement in both.”

Reporting and documentation of expenditures[edit]

Documentation of expenditures has been received by WMF.

Did you send WMF documentation of all expenses paid for with grant funds?

We sent receipts associated with Xero entries for the below costs to Winifred Oliff, as requested. All AdaCamp costs were tracked in the Ada Initiative's accounting software.

Details of expenditures:

Expense Projected Actual
Travel and accommodation grants $5,000.00 $4,224.51
Furniture rental $600.00 $1,256.54
Food/catering $5,000.00 $3,765.29
Event organizer services $600.00 $1,840.00
Event insurance $1,000.00 $300.00
On-site childcare $1,400.00 $0
TOTAL $13,600 $11,386.34

(These costs only represent a portion of the total expense of AdaCamp, but account for 100% of the Wikimedia grant.)

Will you be requesting re-allocation of remaining grant funding?

Not applicable as we used all of the $10,000 granted.

Will you be returning unused funds to the Wikimedia Foundation?

Not applicable as we used all of the $10,000 granted.

Additional requests and related proposals[edit]

Will you be requesting an extension or were you granted an extension? No.

Please link to related grant proposals here: Not applicable.