This is a set of proposed event guidelines that people running Women-friendly events could adapt and use. It is mostly aimed at Technical conferences; for similar work being done in Science Fiction Fandom, see the Con Anti-Harrassment Project at Girl-wonder.org.
How to use these guidelines
A code of conduct will help your attendees, exhibitors, and speakers understand what behaviour is appropriate or inappropriate, and help send a message that your event wishes to be inclusive and welcoming for everyone.
You can include this sample Code of Conduct, or a prominent link to it:
- on your website
- in the Call for Papers
- in the sponsor prospectus
- in the acceptance email to speakers,
- in the confirmation email to sponsors/exhibitors
- in the attendee brochure.
In addition to the publication of a Code of Conduct, you should also appoint someone to be a point of contact to handle questions and complaints, and develop a process for dealing with complaints. For instance, decide on what will happen when someone violates the CoC, and what measures you will take to prevent them from doing it again.
Finally, keep a record of issues/violations; this will provide continuity and context for everyone on your team, and will help you see patterns from year to year.
Sample Code of Conduct
[Event] is an all-ages event for people from many different backgrounds. We expect presenters, exhibitors, and attendees to help make [event] enjoyable for everyone, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, religious or ethnic identity, or ability.
Please show respect for all attendees. In particular:
- Offensive behaviour such as verbal abuse, intimidation, or harrassment will not be tolerated.
- Remember that all our attendees are here for similar reasons, and do not make assumptions about anyone's interests, skill level, or profession based on their appearance or background.
- Remember that "no means no". If someone asks you to stop speaking about a particular subject, or to leave them alone, please do so.
- There are many parties associated with [event], and these guidelines apply equally there. Please consume alcohol responsibly.
- Support your friends and colleagues. If you see someone behaving badly, please let them know that you're not OK with it.
Please ensure that your presentation does not stigmatise, alienate, or marginalise any individual or group. In particular:
- Keep your slide deck G-rated.
- Anything beyond the occasional mild cuss word is not appropriate.
- While criticism of software, programming practices, etc, is OK, please try to offer constructive improvements or alternatives as part of your talk.
- Personal criticism and ad hominem attacks are never OK.
[Event] is an all-ages, mixed-gender event. Please make sure your booth and party can be enjoyed by everyone. In particular, overtly sexualised booths or parties, including "booth babes" or hired entertainers in provocative/sexy attire, are not appropriate.
Please contact us
To discuss any incidents or behaviour in violation of this code of conduct, please contact [person or group], either in person at [location at event] or by email at [email]. We will take any complaints seriously, and respond appropriately. Attendees, speakers, or exhibitors who violate this Code of Conduct may be asked to remedy their behaviour, apologise, leave the event, or may be banned from future events.
If you're unsure whether your presentation, booth, or party will be enjoyed by all, please check with the organisers: [email contact details]
You may wish to abbreviate the above when including it in email and the like. For example:
- [Event] aims to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone. Attendees, speakers, and exhibitors should read our Code of Conduct [provide link] before attending. In particular, we ask everyone to be respectful of all attendees regardless of their age, gender, race or ethnicity, and so forth. Speakers are advised to keep their presentations suitable for a mixed audience, and exhibitors may not have sexually-oriented booths or sales materials. Please see [link] or contact us at [email] for more information.