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 this expectations, this page includes some resources that we think might be helpful.

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 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) 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. 🙂

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Accessible Events Accessible Events

What commonly overlooked things are preventing a more diverse group of people from attending and speaking at our events? What commonly overlooked things are preventing a more diverse group of people from attending and speaking at our events?

Solutions:

  • 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.
    • You can check your language at: https://textio.com/ 
  • Offer childcare.
  • 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.
  • Have live captioning available.
  • Offer sign language interpreters.
  • 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.

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Someone came to my event and never came back. Someone came to my event and never came back.

You run an event and had someone from an underrepresented group attend once and did not return. You wonder if there’s something about your group that made them feel unwelcome, and want to avoid this happening in the future.

Solution:

  • Create a welcoming environment:
    • When the person comes in, welcome them. Say hello and tell them you are glad they are here.
    • If the person is not speaking with anyone, introduce them to others.
    • If the person looks uncomfortable, ask how they’re doing.
    • When the person leaves, tell them you hope they come out again, and also invite the person to bring friends.
    • Consider having an ice breaker game at the start to make everyone feel welcome
  • Ensure that your event’s talks are welcoming:
  • Have a Code of Conduct in place. Post a link to it in every event description and mention it in every event’s introduction. https://make.wordpress.org/community/handbook/wordcamp-organizer/planning-details/code-of-conduct/
  • Be clear on what you will do if there is a transgression in the Code of Conduct.

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Planning resources Planning resources

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What NOT to do What NOT to do