Because My “WHY” Is Stronger Than Your Excuses — Part 1

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Originally posted on August 19, 2018

I will begin this post as I begin each talk, with a list of my credentials because there’s always somebody who needs to see this to understand that I am not an “angry black women”, but rather an informed one.

As I sat back, over the past few weeks, thinking about how I would write about the challenges facing the developer community and specifically Stack Overflow, I realized that there were so many ways I could go. But in order to do what I do best, communicate effective, I’ve decided that this will be a series. This first post will serve as a general overview.

The Problem: Lack of Inclusion & Diversity

Definition of terms

  • Privilege = Access
  • Underrepresented = Numbers
  • Marginalized = Treatment
  • Diversity = Variety
  • Inclusion = Experience

Developer Survey Results 2016

Stack Overflows own data points to serious challenges with diversity:

Developer Survey Results 2017

Developer Survey Results 2018

Here’s a video of my evaluation of the 2018 survey results and their potential implications on a global developer and business community.

Beyond Stack Overflow, the larger technical community continues to demonstrate a lack of care and concern for changing a status quo that favors PRIVILEGED individuals over all others.

White Women != Diversity

A privileged system must take on the responsibility and burden of improving inclusion and diversity in our organizations, communities, and events for members underrepresented and marginalized groups.

  1. We know that many of you don’t care about improving the experiences of those who aren’t benefiting from privilege.
  2. Please stop assuming that your efforts for improving inclusion and diversity are in any way effective.
  3. White women != diversity because they also benefit from a system of privilege.
  4. We are watching you. Your words and meaningless gestures will come back to bite you in the ass over the long-term.
  5. Finally, if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not doing enough.

Indicators of Meaningful Progress and Change with Stack Overflow

  • A strategic plan outlining how they intend to improve not only the number of underrepresented and marginalized individuals meaningfully engaging on the site. But also, a plan for improving the experiences for all (inclusion)
  • Documentation of outreach efforts to underrepresented and marginalized communities.
  • A process for reporting incidences of inappropriate behavior.
  • At least a 25% participation rate for underrepresented and marginalized individuals in the 2019 Developer Survey
  • A meaningful academic study conducted on the potential inherent bias associated with the “knowledge” shared on the site.
  • An onboarding process for those new to the site and new to coding.
  • A regular report that is shared, as widely as you share your survey results, to ensure a transparent process.

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