Creating diversity and awareness in the TYPO3 community
Sociological and psychological concepts
A community or group is considered diverse if its members are different, particularly concerning the following aspects:
- gender identity ((cis-)male, (cis-)female, genderqueer/nonbinary, transgender …)
- sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual …)
- enthnicity (black, hispanic, asian, caucasian …)
- age (young, old …)
- religion (Islamic, Christian, atheist, Hindu …)
- physical abilities (blind, deaf, mute, wheelchair-bound, red-green-blind, able-bodied …)
- physical health
- mental health (autistic, having axieties, having depression, …)
- socioeconomic background (having grown up with lots of or little money, having had books around as a child, having a/no university degree, …)
There are studies that show that diverse team are more productive and create products that appeal to (and work for) larger target groups.
Inclusion means removing barriers and providing help for people with disabilities (in the narrower sense), removing barriers for people that are underrepresented in a group/event, and even making the group/community/event openly welcoming to underrepresented groups so they can integrate easily.
Being inclusive is necessary for improving diversity (although not sufficient in itself).
*Phobias (islamophobia, homophobia, …) mean that a person is hateful of a certain group or has prejudices towards this group.
There are also phobias in the psychological sense (agoraphobia, arachnophobia, …). Those are not relevant in this context.
*isms (sexism, racism, …) refer to actions of structures that work against members of certain identity groups. (There is no really clear border between *phobias and *isms, though.)
Hostile and benevolent sexism
Sexism (the notion that persons of one gender are less worth than other genders) comes in two flavors:
Hostile sexism refers to the notion that persons of one particular gender are incompetent, stupid etc., while benevolent sexism refers to the notion that members of a certain gender need to be protected etc. because they are weaker, nobler etc.
Ableism refers to the notion that able-bodied persons are "normal" and that the needs of disabled people are not important.
Microaggressions ("death by a thousand cuts") describes a situation where a person experiences a huge amount of relatively small hostile/aggressive acts, which in the sum still can make a situation intolerable and drive the person away from the group/situtation.
The persons committing the microaggressions usually see their behavior as "no big deal".
A cognitive bias refers to tendencies to see a situation in a non-subjective or non-rational way without being aware of this.
Confirmation bias refers to the tendency to recognize facts that confirm one's opinion while ignoring facts that contradict one's opinion in order to avoid cognitive dissonance.
Privilege refers to "playing the game of life at an easier difficulty setting" due to being born (or having grown up) with certain properties, for example:
- having wealthy parents and a good education
Being privileged in certain aspects does not mean "having a good life", but it can lead to a tendency to generalize this "easier setting" concerning other people and dismissing their experiences.
The statement "check your privilege" is used to remind someone that they might be privileged, and that other people might have had vastly different experiences.
Things that hinder diversity
This is an incomplete list of examples.
- staying quiet when someome says something sexist
- assuming by default that a woman is not a coder
- small font on slides
- using a red laser pointer (which red-green people find hard to see)
- no (or bad) vegetarian food
- serving only alcoholic drinks at social events
- publishing pictures of people without their consent
- venues that are not wheelchair-friendly
- sexist comments on twitter ("maybe the ladies just have nothing to say at the conferences")
- speaking German by default at an international event
- using "guys" to refer a mixed-gender group
- event without childcare
- not being aware of one's one privilege
- using "crazy" for "unfeasible"
- shouting "Take off your clothes!" when a woman enters the stage
- make speakers pay for travel, hotel, and the participation fee
- t-shirt cuts by gender (all men get square cuts, all women get fitted cuts)
- calling women "girls"
- using "mom" for the concept of "non-technical user"
- have required "first name" and "last name" fields for the name (another article on names)
- have required fields for ZIP code, street name and street number
- have only the two options "male" and "female" for the gender
What other communities/events do
This also is an incomplete list of examples.
- having a community/project code of conduct
- having a code of conduct for events, put it on the conference website and enforce it (FAQ (another example
- explain the code of conduct in the opening session
- post the code of conduct on the walls
- have trusted persons and contact data to report harassment and violations against the code of conduct
- providing a quiet room for breastfeeding and against sensory/social overload
- good vegetarian and vegan food
- speak up when someone says something sexist, ableist etc.
- take responsibility when someone calls you out for your sexist remark
- providing childcare at events
- explicitly encourage member of under-represented groups to apply as a speaker
- select talks anonymously
- gender-neutral (unisex) restrooms
- mark allergens in the food
- lead by example :-)
- encourage and make non-code contributions (documentation, design, …) easy
- regular starter coding workshops
- educate people about biases
- provide affordable and nice non-alcoholic drinks at the social event
- have diverse public role models
- consult experts on sexism, racism, ableism etc.
- have this workshop :-)
- talk and listed to the affected persons and take them seriously
- provide free tampons at the restrooms
- provide subsidized diversity tickets for underrepresented groups
- provide fitted and straight t-shirts in all sizes for all genders
- assigns mentons to the first-timers
- use lanyard colors to mark whether people are okay with being on photos that will publicly appear on social networks
- ask speakers from speakerinnen.org
- provide information about accessibility on the conference website
- have a single (long) input field for the full name
- have a single textarea input for the full address
- have a free-text input field for the gender