Over the years I’ve attended and organised various conferences, hackathons, and other events, and it’s been interesting to observe the ways in which each of them handle (or don’t handle) diversity.
This post is a collection of notes and pointers about the things I’ve noticed are some of the most important things to help increase diversity at events. When I say diversity, I’m largely referring to the diversity of the attendees at events.
I wrote this post because when I was looking recently, I couldn’t find a good article that communicated this point. Presumably my search-fu wasn’t working that day, because I’ve just found several, which I’ve referenced below.
The word “guys” isn’t gender neutral.
I don’t know many people who use “guy” singular, to refer to somebody who doesn’t identify as male. Yes. I know that progressive, descriptive dictionaries like Merriam-Webster state that both “guy” and “guys” are gender neutral, while Oxford still states that the singular form is male.
I don’t tend to write book reviews, but this is important. I’m not sure I’ve ever written one before, so please bear with me.
Book cover: Fight Like A Girl – Clementine Ford Clementine Ford’s Fight Like A Girl is a book about feminism. It’s about a woman who has battled sexism, body shaming, and abuse all her life, and fighting like a girl who, surviving all this, has come out the other side strong, independent, and not giving a damn what men think.
In recent times, I’ve occasionally referred to how many “spoons” I have at my disposal. This mostly comes up for me in a context of interacting with other people socially, usually either in the context of going to an event where I’m meeting new people, or having a discussion with people (either in person or online) on something on which we disagree. As an introvert who attempts to avoid or avert conflict, these interactions often require a lot of energy or courage for me to participate, so often I’ll say “I don’t have the spoons for meeting new people today.
I’m a middle-class, cisgender, white, male living in the 21st century. This affords me a non-trivial amount of privilege. I was reminded of this tonight as I had “Call the Midwife” S04E03 on in the background and I listened to how the English landlords refused lodgings to the Irish, and how homosexuality was treated with oestrogen tablets, with unpleasant side-effects. Despite being a fictional show, I don’t doubt it reasonably accurately reflects the reality of mid-20th century England, and it made me extremely uncomfortable, but also glad that I life in a time and place where I’m not directly affected by this sort of thing.