Diversity 101

Over a year ago, I wrote an initial blog post in response to the criticisms of Gr8Ladies and other women in tech(WIT) organizations.  The issue continues to evolve and many individuals are still confused as to the intent and implementation of organizations like Gr8Ladies.  My hope is to clear up many of these misconceptions with this series of blog posts.


When I entered this conversation on twitter, I got several replies that I shouldn’t waste my time responding.  However, this is an issue I’m very passionate about and something I hope I can help with.  Even if I don’t change the mind of this individual, perhaps, I can clarify something for one of the many other people who have asked me similar questions over the years.  It concerns me when people who have influence over hiring, conference organizing, and funding continue to hold these views when research continues to show the impact of increasing diversity (including gender diversity).  Perhaps it’s because I am so deeply embroiled in the topic that I no longer ask the beginner questions or question the underlying assumptions.  I applaud Jon for being curious, speaking his mind, and not being afraid to start this conversation even if it wasn’t the manner(or wording) I would have chosen.

It’s also important to remember that this conversation is continually evolving.  I look back to ideas and conversations I have had in the past and how many my views have changed as a result of my personal experiences and the gender equality education that permeates through the organizations in which I am involved.

I’d also like to add that some of this conversation will get very personal and explain situations that many others may not feel comfortable explaining in the same detail.  It has taken a great deal of time for me to accept some of these self-evident truths.  Please don’t expect others to feel the same way or to share all of my opinions.  Each person takes a personalized journey through their life and any experience can change the beliefs and ideals of even the most stubborn of individuals. Admitting a change in beliefs can be an extremely freeing experience, but many are reluctant to do it.

Next Steps

I’ve summarized the criticisms of WIT organizations into a few core questions that I will answer.
  1. What makes a woman more ‘deserving’ of these opportunities than someone who ___ ?
  2. How is this relevant to my community?  We’ve never had any hate crimes.
  3. When will we done?

To keep this brief and palatable, I’ll answer one or two of these questions in each post and space the publications so that we have time to read, analyze, and discuss without taking over our lives and day jobs.  If you have other questions or topics you’d like to discuss please feel free to email jenn@gr8ladies.org

Up Next: Women are a majority in the general population, why are you calling women a minority?