Making your event for everyone

Making your event for everyone

Whether your event is a knitting circle, or an exclusive CEO forum, (or a knitting circles for CEOs) you can help it be inclusive.

Don't assume that because your event is for people with institutional power, that you don't need or want these things. Don't be one of the reasons disabled solo parents can't be the CEO.

State all these clearly on the event details, don't wait for someone to ask. People don't ask. They silently don't attend.

Here's a short list:

1) Announce the start and end times clearly. Potential participants need to know to book childcare, or make arrangements with their co-parent, or get someone else to cook for their elder that day. They may have medical needs to tend to during the day, or they may only be able to do 6 hours of social contact before they need to escape. Give them enough information to make an informed decision to attend.

2) State that your venue is physically accessible. Describe what that means (no steps, or there's an elevator in the alley way that you'll need a key for). Don't use venues that are not accessible. You wouldn’t hold a meeting on the 10th floor with no lifts, or where there was nowhere to sit, or in pitch blackness, or where there was no transport available. We cater to able-bodied needs all the time. Extend this wider.

3) Have a code of conduct for all events. People want to know before they register that you won't have an MC delivering trans-gender mocking jokes, all participants can expect to not be harassed, and that nobody's humanity is up for debate in the discussion.

4) If there are drinks, start for an hour of alcohol free. So those not comfortable around drinking can still participate and depart without fanfare.

5) Give consideration to when childcare and schools are open. If you run across 5pm, you are excluding many solo parents. If you start before school starts (before 9am) you'll exclude people. Events on short notice are the worst for arranging a babysitter. Far away "retreats" are hard. Residential courses are hard. Be flexible.

6) For all-day events, provide free childcare. Provide baby care rooms, and breast feeding and pumping rooms. Make it easy for baby-carers to enter the event with the baby for feeds. Again, state this on the event details.

7) Always have pregnancy friendly food. Pregnant people should not have to reveal their status (it's none of your business) to get food they can eat.

8) Don't flounce and grump if people decide to not attend even though you answered their questions and had arrangements ready. They don't need to explain their personal decisions or medical conditions to you.

9) Explicitly invite people to contact you with an questions and requests. Be welcoming.