Safe spaces are necessary

Safe spaces are necessary

The other day, in WordPress Slack, a volunteer asked if she could do women-only meetings through meetup.

Many people in the community contributed their point of view, and I found the points of view interesting. As it is a global community, many times, depending on where you are from, you also have a vision that others do not have and that makes us all learn.

What do I think of safe spaces?

I have always thought that safe spaces are necessary.  I was the organizer of one in a small town in Spain and they were women I would never have met or talked to if I hadn’t organized an exclusive women’s event.  It is a complicated subject, but it is necessary.

Marta Torre at WordPress Slack

This was what I said on the Slack channel. Although the WordPress rules say otherwise, I have organized and participated in safe space meetings and many times it is necessary.

Personal case

In my case, I regularly go to meetups in the WordPress community.

The first time I went to a WordCamp was in Santander in 2015. I went alone and I came back alone. It’s complicated when you go to an event alone and you don’t know anyone.
A few years later, I went to WordCamp Granada 2018, where my friend and colleague José Arcos was going.

He introduced me to many professionals and volunteers in the WordPress community. And from that moment I started to be more visible and I was able to talk with many other volunteers from the WordPress community.
That opened many doors for me, personally and professionally.

Not all of us have a José Arcos

Now that I have been in the WordPress community for a long time, that I have been to a lot of WordCamps, that I have organized meetups, I have seen something that is very complicated to manage but that happens to us regularly.
There are new people who arrive who feel excluded. And this has been told to me by people who, being a speaker, have not dared to tell me something because I was talking to some friends.

I had a friend who helped me with this, so I think we can all be the José Arcos who changed the way I see the WordPress community.

Safe spaces, yes or no?

Although I almost always go to WordPress events, I also went to development events that were organized in my city.
I never felt more insecure than at those events.
When you go to an event where everyone is the same, but you are the person who is different (the only woman in this case) you feel excluded from that site. The dynamics that take place in those places made me feel insecure and if two of my friends didn’t go to those events, I wouldn’t go.

For me, you have to reflect and I think that safe spaces are needed. Not just at WordPress events, but everywhere, because there are people who feel left out and need a safe and welcoming site or space.
Surely there are many people who do not understand this, but it is necessary.

And what do you think?

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