Inclusive and welcoming events

WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. organizers are expected to prioritize inclusion and diversity by creating a 100% welcoming atmosphere at WordCamp and actively recruiting diverse organizers, speakers, and volunteers. For people who are not sure how to meet these expectations, this page includes some resources that we think might be helpful.

Accessible Events Accessible Events

What are some ways to make your event’s environment more inclusive and welcoming for attendees, organizers, and speakers?

Basic AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) List:

  • Watch language, such as gender pronouns and transgender terminology. You can check your language at: https://textio.com/ 
    • For example, when speaking to a group, don’t use gendered words like:
      • Guys
      • Girls
      • Women
      • Men
      • Ladies
      • Gentlemen
      • Etc.
    • Instead opt for words such as:
      • Folks
      • People
      • Friends
      • Assembled guests
      • Colleagues
      • Esteemed colleagues
      • Y’all
      • Guests
      • Esteemed Guests
      • Collaborators
      • My companions
      • Partners
      • All assembled
      • Etc.
  • Your images include folks from underrepresented groups. There are stock photo sites that feature diversity.
  • Offer childcare if you can.
  • Have the event at different times that work for people with children. For example, don’t hold them all at 9pm at night. Weekend afternoons may work. Ask those with children what works for them
  • Choose venues that have accessible alternatives to stairs, such as elevators and ramps.
  • Consider venues that are not centered around alcohol (like bars and pubs). This will help open up your event to attendees who are under 21, recovering addicts, those who belong to a religious group that prohibits alcohol, and many other people who don’t feel safe or welcome in an alcohol-focused environment.  
  • Restrooms:
    • Have restrooms that are welcoming to all genders.
    • Have private, single stall toilets available for trans and non-binary people who prefer it.
    • Restrooms that are power wheelchair accessible
  • Request no one wear scents for the folks who are allergic or sensitive.
  • Show pronouns on the name badges so that people who don’t use the binary pronouns feel welcome. Make this optional so that folks who don’t feel comfortable outing their pronouns in public yet won’t feel obliged, and those who don’t feel comfortable without proper pronouns will feel included with the majority of folks sharing theirs.
  • Allow a way for people to opt out of being photographed, such as having a different color lanyard. Not everyone may want their photos online. It could be for personal reasons or even in some cases, safety reasons. 
  • Have sensory break rooms and make sure that attendees are aware they are available:
    • Speakers (many folks need quiet to prepare and recharge)
    • Prayer / meditation
    • Lactation
    • Needs of neurodivergent people (e.g., Autism, ADHD)

Offer anything else you can think of that expands the kind of people who can speak at and come to your event.

Top ↑

Requests for special accommodations Requests for special accommodations

Occasionally, an attendee will require that special accommodations be made so they can fully participate in WordCamp. This is usually brought to the organizing team’s attention when the person registers for WordCamp.

In the case of deaf or hard of hearing attendees, the organizing team should email the attendee to find out what kind of assistance they require. Some event teams provide CART services, while some arrange for sign language interpreters to accompany the attendee during the event.

If the attendee has a friend or friends who is willing to interpret for them, the volunteer interpreters should be given free tickets to the event. Interpreters who are hired through a service should also be given free tickets to the event so they can stay with the deaf or hard of hearing attendee throughout the event. If your WordCamp includes any official parties, mixers, networking events, etc, find out which “side events” the attendee plans to attend and arrange for interpreters to accompany the attendee for those hours as well. Be sure to post the ending time of all parties so that it’s clear when the “WordCamp portion” of the gathering is complete.

The global community team can help WordCamps with an additional accessibility grant to cover the expenses related to special accommodation requests if necessary.

If you need help or have questions about responding to a request for special accommodations, email support@wordcamp.org — members of the Global Community Team have lots of experience with these requests. 🙂

Top ↑

Being Welcoming Being Welcoming

In addition to the accessibility accommodations, do folks from underrepresented groups feel welcome and included? If someone came out once and did not return, how can you avoid having this happen again in the future?

Solution:

Top ↑

Planning resources Planning resources

Top ↑

What NOT to do What NOT to do