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Changing the Ratio for Patents, Measuring Inclusion, and Realizing What Works for Us Might Not Work…

Changing the Ratio for Patents, Measuring Inclusion, and Realizing What Works for Us Might Not Work for Others

5 Ally Actions | Jul 27, 2018

Photo of man typing at a laptop, courtesy of The Jopwell Collection. Caption says “I ask a trusted peer to message me in meetings when I could be a better ally. I don’t always see it in myself.”

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

1. When giving advice, realize what worked for you might be harmful for a woman or underrepresented minority

Chad Loder, an infosec leader, wrote a thoughtful thread about privilege and double standards. He realizes that as a six-foot tall, blue-eyed white guy, he is treated differently, and he cautions himself and other white males out there to be careful with the advice they give. It could do more harm than good. For example,

  • “You don’t need a college degree.” A college drop-out himself, Chad says he’d be cautious about giving women the same advice.
  • “Infosec certifications don’t mean anything.” Since a woman has to prove herself more than the white guys, that certification might help her significantly to get in the door and be treated with respect.
  • “Be authentic; share your mistakes, your shortcomings, your doubts.” If Chad were to do this, he’d be authentic. If he were a woman, he might be confirming his employer’s fears.

Let’s reflect on the double-standards that exist in tech, and be thoughtful about “this worked for me, so it will work for you” kind of advice.

2. Mentor women, especially those of color, to file patents

Speaking of giving advice, we don’t want you to shy away from it. And one area where allies should be stepping up is around patents. This week, FastCompany published a story that started with, “In today’s installment of unsurprising-yet-still-depressing news: Women of color, particularly black and Hispanic women, are less likely to obtain U.S. patent rights than white women and men.”

One way to change this ratio is to encourage women of color to file patents for the work they’re doing, and mentor them along the way.

Another idea? This one comes from a staff engineer we know at Intel. She started a quarterly workshop on their patent filing process, to demystify it for everyone, but especially for women.

3. Measure what drives inclusion

Survey Monkey, in partnership with Paradigm, a leading D&I strategy consulting firm, released a survey template to measure inclusion & belonging. Check it out. And if you’re not in charge of running engagement surveys at your company, send the template along to the person that is.

4. Fix pay inequities

Nike is the latest large company to announce that they’ve reviewed salaries and will be fixing inequities. They’re about to give raises to 7000 employees.

If your company hasn’t tackled this yet, what are you waiting for?

5. Ask a trusted peer to message you when you could be a better ally

Many meetings have backchannels, with key players suggesting changes to tactics and strategies in the moment via DM or texts. Why not leverage the backchannel to up your ally skills? Ask a trusted peer to message you when you could be a better ally, and offer to do the same for them. Here’s what it might look like:

  • “Dude, you forgot to give Miriam a shout-out in your project update.”
  • “Hey, Jasmine made the same point you just made earlier in the meeting. Give her credit.”
  • “Stop talking. It’s time to listen.”

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

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