I get asked a few times a month about how to “fix diversity” at friends’ and acquaintances’ companies, organizations, and schools. The answers are often pretty similar, so I wrote up a set of links I can just send over.
Under the “Consultants” section, you’ll find links to some great folks who you can give money to to work on this stuff with your organization. I’m not currently taking on consulting or teaching work in this space as I’m heads down on my startup, but I strongly endorse all of the consultants I list below.
The Ada Initiative’s Ally Skills Workshop is a Creative
Commons licensed resource for teaching men how to fight sexism. Frame Shift Consulting has produced a substantially updated and more intersectional version of the workshop, and Kendra Albert has created one which focuses on fighting sexism and transphobia.
Working on making an event more inclusive? Read up on alcohol and inclusivity in a great piece by Kara Sowles. If you’re planning a conference, check out the AdaCamp Toolkit, a wonderful set of resources on inclusive conferences (particularly unconference-style events), and read how Courtney Stanton and JSConfEU increased their percentage of women speakers dramatically. If you’re planning an offsite or other small company event, read about inclusive offsites on the Geek Feminism wiki.
Sue Gardner‘s research report, “Why women leave tech: what the research says,” will give you a really solid background on the social science research around women in tech. If you’re looking to debunk the Damore memo, I consider The Verge’s explainer to be the definitive takedown.
The Kapor Center for Social Impact conducted an extensive study of why underrepresented people leave tech. It is methodologically rigorous and very insightful.
If you’re trying to avoid becoming the next Uber in terms of sexual harassment and abuse, Valerie Aurora, Mary Gardiner, and I wrote about this back in 2016: No more rock stars: how to stop abuse in tech communities. Valerie and I also wrote about our Al Capone theory of sexual harassment.
At my previous job at Slack, we worked with the wonderful Joelle Emerson from ParadigmIQ for Unconscious Bias training as well as other consulting. You can follow her on Twitter, and she’s got a lot of great content on Medium as well.
If you’re interested in hiring someone to teach the Ally Skills Workshop mentioned above now that the Ada Initiative has shut down, I heartily recommend Valerie Aurora of Frame Shift Consulting who developed it originally. She teaches the workshop inside organizations as well as publicly on occasion, as well as train-the-trainer sessions and other classes. Her list of classes is here or you can follow Frame Shift on Twitter for updates. Valerie is based in the San Francisco Bay Area but also teaches the workshop remotely, which works surprisingly super well! Other trainers I recommend are Y-Vonne Hutchinson of ReadySet (also in the Bay Area), Kendra Albert (Boston), and Cynthia Tee (Seattle).
“Lowering the bar”
There’s an argument about diversity in tech that comes up often enough that I wanted to address it head-on – the idea that hiring women, recruiting diversely, etc. will somehow result in quality going down. It comes up a lot with respect to quotas and affirmative action policies. The thing is, it’s just wrong. It’s not “political correctness” to say that affirmative action and quotas work – the research shows that quotas for women raise quality, and that there are too many incompetent men in leadership. If we counteract our deep biases with explicit programs like quotas or affirmative action, we make things better. To say otherwise lets incompetent men and white people off the hook.