Here are some of our favourite articles and podcast that demonstrate the passionate need for greater diversity commitments in tech.
A few months ago, I was spending one of my first Fridays in the office in Envato’s Melbourne HQ; I’d recently been hired as the editor of the new Envato blog. I had claimed a spot on one of the neon green bean bag chairs, lined up in a semi-circle on the second floor of our open-plan office building. It was winter in Melbourne, so I was sporting my brand-new Envato hoodie.
I was catching up on emails – perhaps reading a newsletter, the Ann Friedman Weekly – when I stumbled upon her article about ‘How to fix tech’s women problem’. The introductory line read:
I read this. I looked down at my Envato hoodie. I looked up – at the circle of hoodie-clad, headphone-wearing, Macbook-typing guys next to me. I looked back down at the article. I noticed, then, that it was published in 2014. 2014! That was two years ago! And yet, here I was, reading about issues of diversity in tech that felt more relevant than ever. I simultaneously thought, has the tech industry really made any progress since then?, and, wait, should I stop wearing this hoodie? It’s really comfortable.
Here’s where I should mention that Envato is impressive in their efforts when it comes to tech and diversity, particularly as it relates to the issue of gender diversity. The CEO and leadership team are advocates for diversity, and it’s written into our company values. Envato has received awards like Coolest Company for Women, and in 2014, they were the first Australian startup to release their diversity figures.
But does that mean they’ve solved the diversity puzzle? Not quite. Envato is the first to admit that there’s still a long way to go. We’re working on taking a more in-depth look at the systemic and unconscious issues that contribute to the lack of women in fields like technology and design. We’re elevating the voices of smart women in the design industry, taking a look at our diversity stats & figures for this year, and highlighting women in our community.
Today, I still wear my Envato hoodie around the office – but I’m also more aware than ever of the challenges that women face in tech and design.
Meanwhile, I’m sharing a list of my personal favourite articles, blogs, and podcasts about women and tech: the stories that stuck with me, the ideas I refer to regularly, and the advice that has resonated with me most.
This research-heavy article looks at unconscious bias, tech culture, and the issues around pointing to things like hiring processes and education systems as the only reason for the issues around women in tech.
I almost didn’t include this article in the list, because it’s a harsh and detailed description of the sexism and bro-culture of Silicon Valley almost borders on the not-safe-for-work territory. But that’s the issue: for a lot of women in Silicon Valley, is it the reality of their work.
I love this analogy from Sarah Brown, who likens micro-aggressions and small instances of sexism to water torture: “one drip of water on your forehead will not bother you, but a constant series of drips will cause a person to break’.
Allison Behringer is a podcast producer stationed inside betaworks, an NYC-based startup studio. This 40-minute episode is one of the best explorations of the issue of women in tech — Allison is bold, brave, and straightforward as she interviews her coworkers, and leaders in the tech industry (like entrepreneur and technologist Anil Dash, an advocate for diversity in tech who once spent a year only retweeting women) about how to confront issues with diversity in technology
Pretty simple, really: people don’t like being in hostile work environments.
Approaching the topic of diversity can be difficult. This guide from Label A on their process includes gamification via bingo cards, a catwalk, and office discussions.
Shine theory is the idea that successful women should work together and support each other, instead of seeing each other as rivals. Obama’s female staffers banded together and elevated each other’s ideas, using a tactic known as ‘amplification’; today, half of all White House departments are headed by women.
I’m reminded of this article every time I have an inbox full of article pitches from only men, or when we get a stack of mostly-male resumes for new positions at work. The general idea: many women tend to apply for things (jobs, promotions, career opportunities) that they’re 100% qualified (or overqualified) for, while men are more likely to send in that application, even if they don’t check all the boxes in the job description.
Writer LaToya Allen’s piece about issues with the stereotypical career pages of tech companies — where free beer might be a more prominent perk than paid maternity leave — raises some good points, and it’s a good read to check against your own company’s messages around hiring.
Let’s just start with some science. Sigh.
An article from an ex-Googler about why that Google manifesto is sexist and also misses the point about what it means to be an engineer.
As a woman in the tech industry, this writer cites fatigue as a reason for the outrage around the Google memo: the onslaught of ‘endless scepticism’ is exhausting.
Sexist assumptions and different treatment create significant obstacles to women’s careers in tech.
A four-minute radio piece about Grace Hopper, the woman who played a pivotal role in the computer programming revolution.
Stuck in an ‘ideological echo chamber’? Let’s just grab a coffee and talk to each other. Maybe about ideas other than diversity. ✌️
This article was originally written by Brittany Jezouit.