Group: Women's Caucus/Resources/Conferences
There are already some great resources out there! Take a look:
Geekfeminism has some specific suggestions for creating a welcoming environment for women (and all conference-goers) http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Women-friendly_events
They've also posted a sample code of conduct for events that will help set an inclusive tone for your event, http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Event_Guidelines
Dec.2010 update - some recent incidents have sparked the creation of an Anti-Harassment policy for FLOSS events, http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/index.php?title=Conference_anti-harassment_policy
Conference planning and promotion
- Ask women to speak at your event -- Need some ideas? A little networking can only help. Even if not all of your contacts result in a multitude of speaker sugestions, you're letting people know that you are planning to put on a diverse conference. Email a group like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Debian women, #gnu-women (on freenode.net), Women in GNOME, or any other women group in free software. If you're looking for a woman to talk about Perl, ask someone within the Perl community to point you in the right direction. You can also look at some other conferences and see who they've had.
- Ask women to attend your event -- Technology events can be intimidating to an individual woman, person of color, or non-heterosexual present. Personally inviting someone tells them that as a conference organizer you can picture them at your event, and that they'll have at least one ally when they get there. So: go to other events, ping people on IRC, send a personalized email, and tell individuals in person that they are wanted at an event.
- Ask women speaking at your event to let their peers know they are speaking. -- Specifically ask, "Please tell your usergroup, developers list, co-workers and/or social network that you're speaking."
- Ask everyone involved in an event know that you hope they will help by specifically inviting women.
Encouraging new users
- Make sure your conference is a good fit -- If you are hoping to attract new users, be clear that they will be welcome and make sure you have tracks of interest to new users. If you are hoping to bring in educators, then make sure there are tracks of interest to educators, and so on.
- Students -- If you want students at your event, send an invitation to local CS departments. Consider offering a student discount.
- Money -- Cost can often be a critical factor, especially for women. Consider making a number of "scholarships" or free admissions available. If you offer a range for admission, let registrants know that by paying at the top end they can help to subsidize more women, or more students or more people who would otherwise have trouble paying. Lastly, you can publicize a travel fund and make it easy for sponsors and paying attendees to donate.