Moving the Needle
A few weeks ago popular design magazine A List Apart published “We Have Work to Do: #yesallwomen and the Web”. It wasn’t just a report of the #yesallwomen movement, like some other tech blogs. The ALA was the only tech publication that I saw not only mentioned #yesallwomen (few did even that) but agreed and pledged a new editorial agenda because of it. They are now committed to amplifying the words of people who respect all members of our tech community and to seeking out diverse contributors. And it struck a chord! The comments are full of nice people applauding ALA for publicly supporting diversity. Tech culture win, right?
“Today, only 0.4% of female college freshmen plan to major in CS. This lack of participation in such an important and growing field has serious consequences for the future of technical innovation. If women aren’t represented in technology, their ideas, concerns, and designs won’t be included when we create the cities, cars, infrastructure, medicines, communications, companies, and governments of tomorrow.”
Made with Code is a new initiative from Google that aims to bring more girls into computer science. There are a lot of programs like this, but the Made for Code site seems well put together and thoughtful. There are in-browser projects that new programers can play with, tons of inspirational videos, and links to local events and classes. Also it looks like Google is partnering with a few existing organizations to make this all happen, which is really nice to see. There’s also a thorough overview of why coding is important and empowering for parents that aren’t quite on board. I’m really curious to see how hard Google pushes this. With their resources… well, it would be very exciting to see real change happen in the next few years.
“So we, the staff of A List Apart, are putting a stake in the ground: we will be part of this conversation, too. Sexism and discrimination and diversity are not fringe issues—not problems that should be relegated only to niche sites or individuals’ blogs. They’re mainstream issues that have found far too comfortable a home in our industry. An industry we’ve worked too damn hard to grow, guide, and collaborate with to watch it falter and flail now.”
Huge props to A List Apart for standing up for equality, and to Sara Wachter-Boettcher for writing about it with such grace. I’m looking forward to their new culture content!