Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

5 Ally Actions | Jun 29, 2018

Each week, we share five simple steps to take to create a more inclusive workplace.

1. When You Hear These Red Flags, Pay Attention

Last week, we came across “When You Hear _______, Pay Attention.” It’s a handy list of hints that could mean your product development initiative is in trouble. Things like, “We might as well do this at the same time” and “Oh, this doesn’t need UX [or QA, Ops, etc.]”.

We decided to make the Diversity & Inclusion version. A list of phrases that should be red flags to anyone who wants an inclusive workplace. Things that should grab your attention and make you push back, ask follow-up questions, and take a stand for equality.

Read “When You Hear _______, Pay Attention (The Diversity and Inclusion version).”

2. Support women who use their hard-earned titles

Across social media, women with PhDs have been adding “Dr” to their profiles. To claim their hard-earned achievement. And to push back in solidarity against trolls who have been calling them “arrogant,” “immodest,” or “vain” for doing so.

We love that they’ve been using the #ImmodestWomen hashtag to draw attention to the issue. It all started with this tweet by Dr. Jensen Moore‏.

You know what else? We love that “Dr.” is a gender neutral title.

Let’s all support every woman who decides to be confident, authoritative, and proud of their hard-earned achievements.

3. Discipline the creep, not the victim

A former Pixar employee, Cassandra Smolcic, wrote an extensive column about her experience working under John Lasseter. Remember John? He was ousted from his role as Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer over sexual harassment concerns.

There are myriad cautionary tales in her article. Here’s just one:

“I was told by a superior that I would be uninvited from all our weekly art department meetings because Lasseter ‘has a hard time controlling himself’ around young women. I was crushed to have my participation in the filmmaking process — and subsequently my career trajectory — thwarted simply because I was female. It was clear that the institution was working hard to protect him, at the expense of women like me.”

Allies, we can do better than that. Discipline the creep, not the victim.

4. Don’t penalize women because they don’t “look like a leader”

A newly released study of performance reviews of over 4000 leaders found that we often assume women have communal qualities (e.g., nurturing, relationship-focused, collaborative). And how these are less valued than agentic characteristics (e.g., instrumental, task-focused, goal-oriented), which we assume men possess.

As a result, women don’t “look like leaders” and get penalized for it.

One piece of advice from the authors of the study? Be specific and clear about evaluation criteria. Doing so helps reduce bias and stereotyping based on personality traits.

5. Treat women’s requests for raises and advancement the same as you would for men

This week we also read about a study that shows women ask for raises just as often as men, but are less likely to get them.

Yet another opportunity to use objective criteria to help curb biases…this time when evaluating requests for more salary or responsibility.

One last thing

We’ve seen a nice spike in our subscriber base recently. A huge thank you to everyone who has recommended us to a colleague or forwarded our newsletter.

And because so many of you are new to our newsletter, we want to tell you about a past post that resonated with our readers. Check out Interviewing while white and male, where we answer the question,

“Perfectly selfishly: I’m a middle-aged white guy who generally only wants to work with/for orgs doing good diversity work. But hiring me is almost the opposite of that. Suggestions for reconciling/approaching this?”

Photo credit CC BY-SA 2.0

Becoming an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

Together, we can — and will — make a difference.