What can I do?

~ by @anna ~

What can I do?

~ by @anna ~

Let’s acknowledge that there’s a problem

The way things are currently working - aren’t working.

One group of people often get a lot of blame for this

We can call them Not Diversity Educated

For example

Women do 75% of the worlds unpaid care work.

This affects travel needs.

  • Dropping off kids at school on the way to work
  • Taking an elderly relative to the doctor
  • Picking up groceries on the way home

This data isn’t being actively collected because it’s too hard.

So we all agree - there’s definitely a problem

We now have to accept some of it’s our fault

This is a tough one

Let’s look at hiring

The best person for the job

From the start of the Twentieth Century, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra had an average of 0 women musicians. There were a few exceptions.

It was believed women weren’t as good musicians. If they were, they would be hired.

Following a lawsuit in 1970s, blind auditions were introduced.

Today women represent between 45%-50% of musicians.

Can we hold blind tech interviews?

Check the job advert language.{% /fragment %}}

Do you really need a CV?

Personal projects are not required from a candidate.

Question your unconscious bias every step of the way for every candidate.

Display the salary

Technical test? Really?

Consider a quota

Quotas? Really?

Aren’t quotas discriminating against White men? Surely the best person for the job should get the job regardless of their gender/race/age…

Yes they should! But the clearly aren’t.

Quotas can help readdress the balance.

For example, aim to interview 5 men and 5 women.

What if we can’t find those applicants

Have you thought about why?

Part time and flexible working hours

Childcare covered under expenses

Good maternity and paternity cover

Ensure personal safety

Support for disabilities

Do all the socials happen in the pub?

Support religious ceremonies and celebrate different cultures

Mandatory unconscious bias training

What does diversity look like?

Able bodied
Cis gendered

Can anyone guess which group of people have the best chance of enacting change?



Let’s play a game

During an incident response retro, the presenter makes a sexist remark.

Which one of these do you think makes the biggest impact?

a. Emails from some of the dev team, product owner, business analyst, scrum master and the site reliably engineer


b. One single email from a minority demographic (that half the company don’t respect anyway)

Don’t speak for someone, speak for yourself

Someone making fun of a person from a minority background should make you uncomfortable

Start now

An analysis of fifteen years of Supreme Court oral arguments found that 'men interrupt more than women, and they particularly interrupt women more than they interrupt other men

- Caroline Criado Perez (2019), Invisible Women (pg 282)

Hostile work environments effect everyone

but they effect minorities more

Let’s change the way we do things

Start practising now

We all love meetings

Monitor and stop any interruptions

Time box the speakers so everyone gets a say

Move to unanimous decision making instead of majority based

Listen to everyone

Listen to everyone

Listen to everyone

Listening for Language

Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2018/05/the-different-words-we-use-to-describe-male-and-female-leaders

She’s too Emotional

She needs to take a Step Back

She’s too Bossy

She’s so Abrasive

She’s completely Irrational

She needs to Watch Her Tone

She’s Angry (specially reserved for Black Women)

When someone doesn’t conform to your mental model

It’s easy to reject it and react negatively

Something that’s easy to forget

However good you are, there’s still loads more you could be doing and at some point, you’ll probably get it wrong. Even if it sucks - keep going.

In a “full potential” scenario in which women play an identical role in labor markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.

- McKinsey (2019), How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth

Recommended Reading

‍📚 Invisible Women - Caroline Criado Perez

‍📚 Slay in your Lane - Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene

‍📚 Feminist Fight Club - Jessica Bennett

‍🎙️ We Should all be Feminists - Chimamanda’s Ted Talk (actually, anything by Chimamanda)


How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth

Vague Feedback Is Holding Women Back by Shelley J. Correll and Caroline Simard.

The Different Words We Use to Describe Male and Female Leaders by by David G. Smith , Judith E. Rosenstein and Margaret C. Nikolov

👋 Bye

↩️ start over


What can I do?


We know there’s issues getting children interested in tech and encouraging students to study computer science but what other ways are there to encourage people to get into tech. And to stay in tech.

I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learnt through being a developer and running tech events. Expect some examples and practical advice on things we can all be doing to improve diversity and inclusion in tech.