This post is overdue, and for that I apologise. The fact that I have been putting this off and not prioritising it, is perhaps in some small way indicative of the problem.
Because there is a problem. Whether we want to admit it or discuss it is another matter.
The problem is that women are not yet treated the same as men in tech. In fact, in many cases they are treated down right despicably and it is up to everyone, (especially men) to acknowledge this and address it.
This post is in part dedicated to the work by Salma and unbreak.tech whose aim is to highlight and bring about change.
⚡️ Salma | whitep4nth3r5 months ago I tweeted a call to action for men in tech who wanted to help advocate for and promote inclusivity and equality in tech.
Then I launched unbreak.tech.
I received 100+ DMs from men wanting to get involved.
But I received only 21 contributions so far 👇🏼07:57 AM - 19 Oct 2021
There are a number of things that we can do.. so I thought I would just list a few that I think are important (in no particular order).
- Equal pay for women
- Gender bias awareness and training (especially in recruitment)
- Improve female speaker ratios at conferences
- Increase female attendance at tech conferences
- Don't assume women are less technical than male colleagues around them
- Don't assume women at tech conferences are non technical
- Don't explain things to women that they may already know
- Reduce female drop out of STEM subjects at early ages
- Support groups encouraging women in tech
- Support women in tech
- Speak up when we see something wrong
- Consider what we say and how we act can be interpreted i.e. "hi guys"
- Help women feel safe
(I may update this list)
But I'd really like to take the opportunity to highlight that the many female colleagues that I have had the honour of working with, have been/are absolutely amazing (you know who you are), and I dare say better (on average) than their male colleagues.
I'd also like to challenge anyone of my male peers who's initial thoughts are "yeah but..". You need to get yourself to a place where you acknowledge that there is a problem.
In my opinion, it is similar to white people having a problem with the "black lives matter" message and insisting on using a "black lives matter too" or "all lives matter" instead.. of course they do! but the original phrase is to help raise awareness of the particular problem and I can completely understand why variations on it detract from the original message/problem. Source
For me the most important thing that men can do is admit there is a problem and after that, as I've listed, there are various ways to help to get towards a place where women are treated equally in tech. (I don't have all the answers before someone asks me how we get there).
Slightly selfishly as I write this I realise that I am thinking about the world I want my 8yo daughter to live in and my 5yo son to be aware of and help towards creating.
What kind of future do you want future generations to live in?
(Photo by Elena Mozhvilo, from Unsplash)
Top comments (1)
It starts with education. A recent poll by JetBrains showed that 80% of people know how to code (for example) by the time they get out of high school. Even in school, though, very few women gravitated to the computer lab or the library. Believe me, I wish they had. This has of course biased my normal environment, to the point where I may even be biased in favour of hiring women purely on the basis of their being women.
I rarely see female applicants, let alone qualified female applicants. I think your list is a good start. I'd note a couple of anecdotal things though:
This is a conversation I have with my wife on occasion, and I'm happy to see people talking about it.