Traveling to a WordCamp can be expensiveLet's be honest. When you add up the cost of food, hotel and especially the airfare, speaking at a WordCamp can be expensive. And that's never more true than for WordCamp US, one of the two largest WordCamps out there. Most people who attend a WordCamp only attend the one that's local to them. Sometimes this means you drive for 2-3 hours. And sometimes it means you don't stay the night and only attend the first day of the event. But it's how most people on a budget navigate the challenges of attending a conference. Don't get me wrong - WordCamps are incredibly inexpensive. Most conferences like this cost $1500-5,000 for a two or three day event. WordCamps often cost $25-40. And come with a t-shirt. And lunch. But that doesn't make it cheap if you're traveling. And WordCamp US is one of those events where everyone has to travel. And not everyone can afford it.
That's why many people don't apply to speakThe result is that some people decide that they won't even apply to speak. Because they know that even if they are selected, they won't be able to go. So why bother? This is not unique to WordCamps and the WordPress community. The other thing that isn't unique to WordCamps or the WordPress community is the consistent challenge to see minorities and women on the stage. I think WordPress does a better job than most. And I think we get better every year. But it's still not uncommon for me to visit an event and be one of the only ethnic minorities that is speaking at an event.
Embracing and encouraging diversityAt a recent WordCamp that I helped organize, even with a lot of focus and effort, I think we had about 30% female and 2% ethnic minority speakers. At another one I attended recently, the ethnic minorities made up 10% of the speakers and female speakers were just over 25%. Diversity is critically important - for everyone. So much so that I had my friend Tracy come speak about it at our last WordCamp San Diego.
We want to encourage you to applySo as people can apply to speak at WordCamp US, we quickly realized some folks may not apply simply because of the expense. While we can't help everyone, we know even helping a single underrepresented minority get on stage helps everyone. And we don't want people to count themselves out before they even apply. So after you apply to speak at WordCamp US, come back here and give us your details. You don't have to wait until you hear if your talk has been accepted. Just come back here and fill out the form below. Once you hear that you've been selected, just email me and let me know. From the list of approved speakers, we'll pick someone to sponsor their attendance. We look forward to enjoying WordCamp US with you.