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Sexism and PHP

Dear Reader,

UPDATE – 03/20/2013
For what it is worth, Anna and I have exchanged emails and I did apologize for some of my actions because I consider them un-professional. She has graciously accepted my apology. While we still stand on opposite sides of the aisle on this matter, at least we are now smiling and waving at each other. :)

Recently at SunshinePHP, my friend Ligaya Turmell and I had a discussion about sexism in the PHP community. My question to her was something like “I’ve been running PHP conferences for 7 years now and have never heard of an incident at any conference of which I was a part.” She had a great response. I am paraphrasing here, Lig, feel free to correct me.

“The PHP community has not had the problem with sexism that other communities seem to have but that is because from the early days, we have had strong women role models. Women like Lara Thomson, Sara Golemon, Liz Smith, and the like have played such a prominent role in the community that no, we’ve not had that big of a problem.”

I do not mean to imply that we can’t do better but if you look at all the recent blog posts about sexism at conferences, you will notice that none of them are PHP conferences…until now.

Today @webandphp rolled out a new T-Shirt at PHPUK. I’ll leave it to you to go find the picture, I’m not going to give them the Google juice of a link. I’ll just say THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!

No it’s not horrifically offensive. I’ve seen worse at conferences like OSCON…but that was from members of other communities that think it’s cute.

Here’s the bottom line. @webandphp thinks this is ok; that’s fine, it’s their opinion. My opinion is that it’s not.

  • As a man, I’m embarrassed
  • As a board member of PHPWomen.org, I’m offended
  • As a member of the PHP Community, I’m sad

So I’m going to take a stand in my little corner of the world and I don’t care if anybody else does.

To all PHP Conference organizers, I will not participate in any conference that @webphp or their parent company S&S is involved in. I will not attend, I will not speak. If I agree to speak or purchase a ticket and then they get involved in any way, I will refuse to participate.

It’s a small step, I know. Largely symbolic because to date, I’ve attended 2 conferences that S&S has been involved in and none that @webandPHP has been a part of. (To the best of my knowledge) But it’s my small step.

And to whomever is operating the @webandphp twitter account”

“@CalEvans Cal you act like I’m not a part of the community, I would gladly speak to you on the phone, if you would talk to me :) ?”

I don’t get to define what the PHP Community is, but I’m not part of ANY community that identifies itself with stuff like this.

UPDATE: Thanks to my friend @JCarouth, I am informed that @webandPHP was a media sponsor of @SunshinPHP, a conference that I attended and at which I spoke. As much as I LOVE @sunshinePHP and it’s founder @AdamCulp, I will stand behind my pledge. Again, it’s a small step, but it’s my small step.

UPDATE: It should be noted for those that do not know, all of this happend just recently. Sunshine PHP took place a few weeks ago and before this incident. I do not mean to disparage SunshinePHP or my friend Adam Culp in any way. :)

Until next time,
I <3 |< =C= For more on this topic, check out the Sexism in Tech I recorded on the topic with 4 respected women in the community.