I had fun today speaking at Open Web Vancouver 2008, and even more fun listening to Zak Greant, who was on just before me. He’s a fine speaker, I recommend him for any geekfest. Here’s what caught my eye: there were way more women in the audience, proportionally, than I’ve seen at any Ruby or Rails or Java event.
OpenWeb is a very PHP-heavy gathering, and I’ve noted this PHP-gender linkage before.
Why might PHP attract women? I can’t see it being anything intrinsic to the technology. Lauren suggested that if a community (such as PHP) at some point gets a reasonable representation of women, the situation might easily become self-perpetuating, if female geeks preferentially seek out events where they’re not so rare as to feel like space aliens.
Still, one way or another there’s a lesson here for Ruby and Java.