Ensono’s “Speak Up – Bringing More Women’s Voices to Tech conferences” research discovered that one in four women attending a tech conference experienced sexual harassment and 41% of women who report such an experience are less likely to attend a future event. In spite of these dire statistics, 49% of women are unclear about the existence of a code of conduct at these tech conferences.
It is clear from the survey results that tech conferences still have work to do when it comes to providing an inclusive environment for women. However, the companies that send representatives to these tech conferences also can make a difference. By assuming responsibility and committing to concrete, actionable changes within their organizations, companies can have a major effect on how women are represented at tech conferences and even on representation in the industry as a whole.
Sending employees to conferences is a powerful way to help further their professional development as well as making them feel more engaged. However, HR departments have to ensure that the conference experience is appropriate and respectful and reflective of company values — and research shows this isn’t always the case.
Developing a code of conduct — or a set of rules and behavioral guidelines required of all employees — for conferences is an important and powerful way for businesses to make a difference on inclusivity. These documents set reasonable expectations for employees before they set foot in the convention hall, and lay out clear steps for what to do if they witness sexual harassment, abuse or have other concerns.
To simplify the process of developing and implementing a code of conduct, Ensono has assembled an easy-to-follow guide that outlines:
- Important statistics that illustrate the need for a conference code of conduct and the impact such codes can have on women’s experiences
- Clear definitions of important terms and the four cornerstones behind strong conference codes of conduct
- A templated code of conduct that can be distributed to employees, signed and kept on file
Take advantage of Ensono’s free code of conduct resource
For more information on Ensono’s research into conference inclusivity and the lack of female representation among featured speakers, download our data study on the topic.