Big Hairy Audacious Goals for WP Includes

An AI generated illustration of a diverse group of women sitting around a table and having a conversation.
Image generated by Dall-E after many attempts

In June 2023, the WordPress community came together in Athens for a new edition of WordCamp Europe. On the Sunday after the event, Siobhan and I had lunch and talked about the lack of diversity in leadership positions. We have been having the same conversation for years! Instead of limiting ourselves to some banter, this time, Siobhan proposed we actually do something about it. And so WP Includes was born.

WP Includes – A mentorship scheme to increase diversity in leadership

wpincludes.me (props to Siobhan for the name; it’s very tongue-in-cheek and self-explanatory at the same time) is a mentorship scheme to increase the number of female leaders in WordPress businesses.

Many WordPress businesses were started by developers as one-man side gigs and evolved into companies, but this doesn’t mean that they can not surround themselves with very capable women at the executive level.

Soon, we will wrap up our first cohort, which saw eight pairs of mentors/mentees work together for a few months. As expected, not all of them completed the programme, and that’s okay. On any volunteer-driven initiative, people’s availability might change without notice. We are working as a group to figure out how to help mentees and mentors get as much value as possible from the programme and improve it for the next cohorts.

If you want to participate as a mentee or a mentor, apply now!

Big Hairy Audacious Goal: Our vision is to have equal representation of women at global WordPress companies.

WordCamp Europe 2024 Talk – Fixing the ladder

After the first cohort kicked off, Siobhan and I started thinking about applying with a talk for WordCamp Europe 2024,.

I am glad to announce that on June 15th, we will present “Fixing the ladder: getting more women into leadership at WordPress businesses” in the main track (props again to Siobhan for the copy!).

We will talk about our personal experiences of women in the WordPress space. The good, the bad and the ugly.

We will present the initial results of the Gender Equality survey (see below) so people can see the data and not just base opinions on gut feeling.

We will offer feedback and suggestions to improve the diversity of senior leadership groups across our sector.

Big Hairy Audacious Goal: Get a packed room! It has over 1500 seats, and I’d love to see loads of people in it! Honestly, I especially want to see male C-suite folx in the room. A diverse board is good for business. Do it for selfish reasons.

The Gender Equality Survey

Gut feelings are rarely wrong. Often, Siobhan, me, and other WordPress leaders find ourselves as the only women in the room. This happens in conversations, release squads, team reps, conference schedules, executive groups, or the senior leadership team—you name it.

Nonetheless, we also want the data to back it up. Siobhan suggested we launch a survey (She is the creative one, if you haven’t figured it out yet. I am the community and IT gal. We make a good pair.)

We were very lucky to kick off the project quickly. Rae Morey is conducting the research sponsored by Crowd Favorite, Human Made, and XWP, three prominent enterprise agencies in our space (thank you!).

The survey asks questions about the gender composition of leadership teams, the experiences of women and gender-diverse leaders and employees, and the challenges and barriers to their career success.
The survey results will inform the Gender Equality in WordPress Businesses 2024 report, which will be published later this year. The report will provide a snapshot of the current gender equality landscape in the WordPress business community and make recommendations to help companies diversify their leadership teams.
We will treat all participation confidentially, and you can choose to remain fully anonymous. The report will not name individuals or companies, and data will be reported in aggregate.

If you have specific questions about the survey, you can email info@wpincludes.me

Big Hairy Audacious Goal: Hit 1000 (yes, one thousand) replies! Your participation will be greatly appreciated by the team and will help us to make improvements to equality in the WordPress business ecosystem for everyone.

Conclusion: no more flat heads for ambitious women

If you are unfamiliar with Dame Stephanie Shirley’s work, now is a good time to read about her. You can get the TL;DR version in this amazing TED Talko: Why do ambitious women have flat heads?

Surprisingly – or not so much – you will discover that the situation hasn’t changed much in the last sixty years or so.

Big Hairy Audacious Goal: I wish for all women, not only in tech, not to be patronised, discriminated against, mistreated, ignored for a promotion, marginalised, forgotten from history, or underappreciated.

It’s 2024. Stop it, seriously.

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