How to Host Inclusive Events

This page is a resource for event organizers who would like to organize inclusive events. This wiki is a result of GNOME's Inclusion and Diversity initiatives, and we hope that it will expand beyond our community and help others as well. Please help us improve the content!

Getting people to attend

Marketing your event

  • Focus on language around participation and learning (as opposed to competition and "rock star" language)
  • Include diverse imagery in marketing materials
  • Encourage speakers to promote their own talks before the event and co-market with them (help to promote a diverse set of speakers, talks, and workshops)

Outreach and travel support

  • Allocate travel funding specifically for underrepresented groups (e.g. Opportunity Grants)
  • Advertise specifically to underrepresented groups
  • Provide materials in other languages
  • Designate travel grants for media and ask them to promote a diverse set of event participants
  • allow a broader definition of media, target FLOSS relevant sites

Announce important policies before the event

  • Publish an event code of conduct
  • Offer child care (or something similar)
  • Offer travel sponsorship for child??

Planned events and content

  • Aim for gender parity in speaker representation and behind booths
  • Seek speakers from diverse places (e.g. targeting email lists, reaching out to specific speakers)
  • Printed event items and speaker slides should be accessible

Plan for accessibility

Website and registration forms

  • Highlight a range of speakers on the website
  • Do not require gendered pre-fixes on registration forms
  • Ask about food allergies and restrictions on registration forms

Making people feel welcome

Gender neutral considerations

  • pronoun stickers, ribbons, etc
  • have gender neutral bathrooms
    • If gender neutral bathrooms are not possible consider written signs like: “All are welcome to use the restroom that best matches their identity, or that feels safest and most comfortable to them,” the venue’s restroom policy reads. “Please help hold a safe space for everyone by not challenging or questioning others’ restroom choices.”


  • Some sort of official community policy on behavior/anti-harassment/inclusion/etc
  • share the appropriate local emergency numbers (esp. relevant if you need to contact a specific number)
  • Train volunteers about D&I measures in place (gender neutral bathrooms, dietary restrictions, etc)

  • Be sensitive of chemical use. Venue and guest room cleaners and scents can present serious health risks to those with sensitivities. Eliminate the risk by considering a no-scent meeting, including asking attendees to refrain from overuse of perfumes

Events and content

  • Talk about things like CoC, accessibility options, gender-neutral bathrooms, etc at opening ceremony
  • Set up a Diversity & Inclusion meetup

  • Hold workshops or sessions specifically geared towards underrepresented audiences
    • Make sure that the speakers who compose your diversity panel are actually diverse
    • Hold sessions like something on imposter syndrome, have a community track
    • Make sure to have non-technical talks, and talks on a range of subjects (design, community, outreach, etc)
  • Provide captioning for talks if at all possible, or have interpreters
  • Provide sufficient time in between talks for people to get from one place to another so that people with disabilities are not at a disadvantage

Travel considerations

  • Make it easy to show up and get around (e.g. clear information around travel logistics). Maybe organize a pick up from the airport or train at certain times, or at least have step by step instructions on how to get there
  • Think about accessibility issues for getting to the venue and to accommodation

Newcomer friendly

  • Create "talk to me" stickers/ribbons and have some friendly volunteers / core contributors to the project wear them
  • Host welcome events, newcomer sessions, etc (see: LCA for example)
  • Create a brief local language guide / session on survival language

Create thoughtful spaces

  • Set up a quiet lounge
  • Stock things like tampons in bathrooms
  • Have CoC printed in various locations (e.g. bathrooms)

Food and beverages

  • Make it easy for people with food restictions to eat
    • Make sure to provide food for people with food allergies: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Halal, Kosher, Vegetarian, Vegan. Make sure to plan for severe allergies too (e.g. peanutor shellfish). If you are not providing food, provide a list of nearby restaurants where people with food restrictions can eat.
  • Food and beverages should appeal to a wide audience (equal amount of non-alcoholic beverages that are fun and special too (milkshake bar, mocktails, etc), healthy food not just pizza, etc)


  • Provide appropriate swag that's available for all genders and body shapes. For example, make sure to have t-shirts for men and women, and for sizes S - XXXL

Retaining people beyond the event

  • Create a stronger GNOME Women brand
  • Hold regular meetings and activities (e.g. once a month, once a quarter)
  • Use language besides "developers" in marketing materials, focus on language to help promote diversity
  • Recruit a group of people to regularly help with D&I initiatives

  • Train frontline employees about D&I topics and ways to be more inclusive (e.g. train board, ED, staff, event organizers and volunteers, project maintainers and newcomers leaders)

Here is the original etherpad

InclusionAndDiversity/InclusiveEvents (last edited 2019-06-06 05:12:38 by Nuritzi Sanchez)