An article by two technical women with different perspectives on a critical event in the history of gender diversity in tech. Now they’re working together to pave the way to a better world with examples of what men can do to improve the industry.
The 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration was a turning point for gender diversity in tech. You remember; it’s where Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, proclaimed on stage that women should rely on karma for raises. You may have also heard about the Male Allies panel, featuring men talking about what they’ve done to improve gender diversity male allies. Well, ahead of time, there was a buzz about that panel. Why were men taking the stage away from women at this women’s conference, and if they were such great allies for women, why didn’t their companies have better diversity?
A group calling themselves Concerned Feminists created a bingo card with phrases they expected to hear from the panelists, the phrases that would show that these men still had a long journey ahead of them before they became true male allies. They handed out the bingo card to the attendees. And women started shouting out, “Bingo” as the panel progressed.
Many people, including Cate Huston (an author of this article) liked this bingo card. Cate thought it highlighted that diversity initiatives are so often trite soundbites but little action – three of the four companies represented on the panel have less than 20% technical women, so clearly they have a long way to go.
By contrast, Karen Catlin (also an author of this article) and others were disappointed with it. Karen thought the bingo card caused attendees to focus on the negatives, preventing them from hearing what these men are doing to improving gender diversity at their companies.
Even with their different perspectives, Cate and Karen joined forces to make an aspirational version of the bingo card. A card with phrases they want to hear from men in tech. Phrases that serve as examples of what men can do to make change. Phrases that show men are taking a stand to improve diversity and not just paying lip service to it.
Now we need to leverage the bingo card. Please share it at your workplace, and let us how you’re using it to improve gender diversity. We’re collecting success stories, and we look forward to hearing yours!
Download a hi-res version of the bingo card.
Many thanks to the editor and designer of the bingo card, Kathryn Rotondo. kathrynrotondo.com