In this post, I’ll explain why we’ve created the Yoast Diversity Fund. This fund pledges a minimum of €25,000 each year. It aims to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for speakers that increase the diversity of speakers at a given conference.
Why do we need a Diversity Fund?
To make a conference inclusive and have it feature a diverse set of speakers is hard. Women, but certainly also other minorities, tend to speak less, and they do so for all sorts of reasons.
We believe that encouraging diversity among conference speakers and attendees is incredibly important. These types of events are where we go to learn, get inspired, meet life-long friends, and make significant career or life decisions. The people on the stage influence those outcomes, and the people around us shape that experience.
For a long time, especially in digital, conferences have not done a good job of representing minorities and disadvantaged groups. We need to change that. If we want to broaden our horizons, we need to remove the barriers which prevent everybody to be able to share their experiences. That’s why we’re working to give everybody a chance, and to make these conferences a fair, safe and level playing field.
At Yoast, we’ve been thinking about what we can do to improve the inclusivity of conferences. One of the things we can do is remove hurdles, and specifically, the hurdle of costs. Costs for speakers from a diverse background to come and speak.
There are WordCamps throughout the world, these are conferences about, by and for the WordPress community. While we already sponsor a lot of them, they tend to not have the budget to pay for speakers’ travel and accommodation cost. The same applies to other conferences about open source, certainly those that are not commercially run. We want to take away that particular reason for not having a diverse conference.
The Yoast Diversity Fund will, therefore, starting today, reimburse travel and accommodation cost up to €1,000 per event.
Which conferences and speakers can apply?
Either a conference or a speaker can apply if:
- The speaker is part of – or identifies as part of – a typically underrepresented group.
- The conference is not commercial.
- The conference targets either the WordPress, Magento, or TYPO3 community.
- The speaker has been accepted as a speaker to the conference.
How can I apply?
Email diversity-fund at yoast.com. Tell us:
- who the speaker is;
- which underrepresented group the speaker is a part of;
- what conference you’re applying for.
We’ll review applications within one week. If needed we can help with or take care of travel arrangements.
International Women’s Day seemed like a great opportunity to launch this fund. Marieke has written more: Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day!