It’s a well-known problem: the tech industry, be it proprietary or open source, hasn’t managed to tackle inequality in its ranks despite several proactive efforts and millions of dollars invested to diversify their staff. There are many explanations and critiques of these approaches, but in the end what counts is that technology is still developed and maintained by a homogeneous population of mainly English-speaking cisgender white men.
That’s why on the 23rd February 2017 women and non-binary people in tech are called to join a general strike, the Distributed Denial of Women.
We are calling on all women and non-binary people to stand in solidarity and pledge to stay offline, organize or join public gatherings, or stay home in protest of being constantly overlooked, undervalued, underpaid, and downright attacked for daring to demand basic dignity and respect.
The organizers of the Distributed Denial of Women acknowledge that not all women and non-binary people have the privilege to participate in this strike, and offer several ways of joining the protest, also through social media. As women working at eQualit.ie, we have decided to join the strike in solidarity with women and non-binary people in tech who regularly face exclusion microaggressions or abuse. We will participate in the protest with a proactive attitude, so that the Distributed Denial of Women is not a one-off event but a step in a wider process aiming at inclusion and at creating a safer space within our working place, even geographicallydistributed one.
For example, in the coming weeks we have committed, as a team, to set aside dedicated time to tackle (or continue developing) our hiring and recruitment processes (with a focus on actively pursuing diversity and standardising assessments) reviewing material we publish for exclusionary language and opening dialogues within the team about adopting a code of conduct that reflects the kind of balanced environment we want to work in.
We realize that gender gaps exist across all sectors n Canada, where eQualit.ie was founded, women earn on average 66.7 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the most recent national statistics. The field of tech particularly exemplifies this disparity, with qualified female candidates often passed in favour of male candidates, and women earning less money and being hired more often than men in non-technical roles. This in addition to the harassment regularly directed at women in the workplace.
In showing that we actively stand against discrimination we believe, as a first step, that the DDoW campaign being organised on February 23rd is a positive way to bring attention to these important issues. Furthermore, eQualit.ie pledges to develop and keep defining standards of fairness and diversity as we move forward, to keep taking necessary steps to show that despite statistics and biased industry standards, we are committed to living up to our name and doing our work in an inclusive environment.