Make hackerspaces better – support Ada initiative

Hello! I love hackerspaces! And I’m asking hackerspaces around the world to donate to the Ada Initiative in support of making hackerspaces welcoming and safe places for women. My goal is to raise $4096 and if we do, I’ll match the first $1028 donated. **UPDATE** extending the deadline to next Friday, Oct. 3.

Adacamp liz and heidi in tiara

My home base is Double Union, a feminist hackerspace in San Francisco and it’s going strong. It has lively events every week and over 150 members.

A group of us at AdaCamp SF last year decided we could start a maker and hacker space for women. AdaCamp SF is an unconference run by the Ada Initiative for feminist women in open tech and culture. There were so many of us all together at once. So powerful feeling! With months of hard work, it happened — we opened Double Union.

We get to hack there without sexist bullshit or constantly fending off creepy dudes!

The thing is, I believe that any hackerspace can potentially be that way. You, too, could have a hackerspace where many women feel comfortable, welcome, valued, in their creative, coding, and entrepreneurial and activist endeavors, in a space full of allies and comrades of all genders. This can’t happen overnight. It will take work and education and above all, listening to women, not just the few women who have stuck around, but also the ones who left because they were uncomfortable.

I want to persuade hacker and maker spaces around the world that they are missing out on infinite potential. Hackerspaces.org has some good advice on adding anti-harassment policies to the design patterns for running a space. This is exactly the sort of work that Ada Initiative is good at; their Example anti-harassment policy has been used as a template by many events and organizations.

I’d like to challenge all hackerspace members to do two things in support of my campaign:

* Donate to Ada Initiative! I will match up to $1028 donated when we reach the $4096 goal!

* Add your anti-harassment policy to your organization’s page at hackerspace.org, and link to it from the list on the Geek Feminism wiki. (And if your space doesn’t have a code of conduct or policy, start the ball rolling to implement one!)

I love Double Union. We have set aside a permanent physical space, equipment, organization, and time that is focused on making and creating things together. We have the keys in our hands and the tools to do whatever we like in a safe, supportive environment free from harassment. We agreed to a basic code of conduct and some assumptions we share about behavior in the space, which helps establish trust for us to share knowledge, time, and tools. We try to follow Community anti-harassment standards. We have members who are also part of, or supporters of, Noisebridge, sudo room, LOLspace, Mothership Hackermoms, Ace Monster Toys, and other San Francsico Bay Area spaces.

Double union shopbot

We’re having writers’ groups, book groups, readings, zine workshops, open source software coding, cryptography meetups, circuit hacking, making stuff with our CNC routers, 3D printer, vinyl cutter, drawing and art supplies, and sewing machines — in short, doing whatever we like and learning a lot from each others’ expertise. We celebrate other women’s work and cultural diversity. Our hackerspace is against putting others down for what they do or don’t know. Once we don’t have to fight to prove we are ‘hacker enough’, great things happen.

Double Union’s founding group had the vision to make this space happen because of the pioneering work of the Ada Initiative. Ada Initiative’s demands for policy changes for events and companies, its fierce uncompromising voice, and especially its empowering and inspiring events, are having a good and useful effect to shift our culture.

More AdaCamps, like the ones this year in Berlin, Bangalore, and Portland, will help improve women’s participation in hackerspaces. With your donation, we could potentially host MORE of these fabulous unconferences for women in open tech and culture.

Please join me in donating to Ada Initiative so they can keep on being a positive force for change in the world!

Liz and Cristin smiling at DU


2 thoughts on “Make hackerspaces better – support Ada initiative”

  1. I belong to a hackspace that is hackerspace “where many women feel comfortable, welcome, valued, in their creative, coding, and entrepreneurial and activist endeavors, in a space full of allies and comrades of all genders.”

    Ok its not perfect, I know of some issues, from simple about some things – including me, because I definitly get some peoples back up. but i can honestly say Oxhack http://oxhack.org/ is bloody brilliant

    I’m actually looking around for your diversity advice, but I am concerned its just going to be a long list of don’ts, of negatives. We are still writing our diversity document and we are trying hard to make it postive, which is actually quite hard, as you need to explain things more.

    So for example explaining privalege as power, but also that power is subtle – people don’t realise that the reason they can what they do is because they have power when others may not. Our document reminds people that we all have the experience of being powerless when we were children, when our choices, what we wanted either didn’t count or we had to manipulate people to get what we wanted. We challenge people to recognise the power they have by living without for a day if they can: and they can do this by going to the main breaker box and switching the electricty off, then wait and see how long it before they want their power back…

    Hopefully this help people realise how subtle power is, you think you haven’t got any because you assume you what where you are because of you, because it certainly hard enough. When yoiu lose power you recognoise that cutting up a piece of wood isn’t easy without a power tool and its eaven harder without a saw, that things you used to be able to do in moments can now take hours

    anyhow I saw this via the hackerspaces blog, so thanks for the post!

    kate

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