I get asked a few times a month about how to “fix diversity” at friends’ and acquaintances’ companies. While I understand the appeal of free consulting, I just don’t have time to properly answer these questions – but they are issues I care a lot about, so I wanted a reference I could point the askers at. So I wrote one! It’s a work in progress but this is the current bundle of links I’ve been sending over when people ask me about these issues.
At the end of the page, you’ll find links to some great folks who you can give money to to work on this stuff with your company. They will do a much better job than I can over a coffee.
The Ada Initiative’s Ally Skills Workshop is a Creative
Commons licensed resource for teaching men how to fight sexism.
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.
“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.