On Being Deliberately Diverse

For  a while now I’ve been trying to write something on being deliberately diverse, how much needs to be done and what we all can do to change things. It was turning into a very long Thing so I stopped, took out all the anecdotes and decided to just share a few points that are at the top of my list this week.

Women’s Tech Hub is so named because we bring together women in the tech industry to support and encourage them. We listen to what women say about their experiences of work and we know that a lot of change is needed to retain women in tech (try reading Ask a Female Engineer). Diversity is not just about gender, obviously, but we need to start somewhere – look around you, at work, at meetups, at conferences and notice who is there and who is not. Then do something.

  1. State clearly that your workplace/conference/event is a welcoming space for all. e.g. WTHub women’s events are open to anyone who identifies as a woman, and we will not tolerate any discrimination against people because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion at any of our events.
  2. Stick up a poster on a wall with expected codes of conduct so that your workplace feels safe for everyone, not just the majority of employees – don’t make doing this the responsibility of women and/or LGBTQ employees. Everyone should be involved in the discussion and learn how to be allies to make a workplace feel safe. Create a page on your website that states your company policy – you may find it attracts more diverse job applicants too.
  3. Join the Minimum Viable Diversity Pledge, an initiative to get organisers of talks, panels and conferences to pledge to “avoid supporting or creating paid events that don’t feature any diverse representation whatsoever”. Check it out, sign up and think about how you can change events you organise.
  4. For ideas on how to create an event that is diverse, accessible and inclusive look at how they approached it at PyCon2016 and make a note of their Code of Conduct page and speaker mentoring scheme. Emulate them. We pointed Bristech2016 at it and they created great Code of Conduct and Inclusivity pages.
  5. Watch Has Anyone Seen A Woman? and take on Deb Verhoeven‘s challenge to mentor someone who does not look or sound like you. We all need to step out of our comfort zones.
  6. Interns can be any age, not just fresh out of university. Think about offering a returnship to someone who has been out of the industry for a while – we offer a re:boot programme for women wanting to get back into tech.
  7. Join/Support Women’s Tech Hub and talk to us. We’ll help our members with practical support eg on how to recruit. We have plenty of ideas. We know that putting job adverts on Reddit threads will not generate applicants from a broad range of backgrounds. (tip from Jen)