Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Don’t use pinup images on conference swag. And other obvious actions for allies.

Photo courtesy of Dinah Davis

Last week was a busy one for the Better Allies team. InfoSec World 2018 happened, and unfortunately generated some cautionary tales for allies. Plus we have a few other everyday actions to help create a more inclusive tech workplace. Let’s go.

1. Don’t use pinup images on conference swag

Yup, it’s 2018 and we’re here stating what should be obvious. Sexualized, pinup images don’t belong on swag or any professional material. It’s offensive and derogatory towards women. And we couldn’t believe it when we heard Security Weekly handed out this sticker at InfoSec World this week. (There were t-shirts, too.)

As someone said in an online discussion of the sticker. “I might have thought those were awesome…when I was 14.” Spot on.

2. Hear something? Say something

A good reminder of the importance of pushing back when hearing a guy talking disparagingly about a woman, from Jake Williams (@MalwareJake).

Men (particularly in infosec, but elsewhere too), time for some real talk. If we want to solve the gender gap, we have to change how we act on and off work hours, especially at infosec events.”

He went on to share a woman’s experience at a recent event, and how just one guy speaking up could have had a huge impact. Read Jake’s twitter thread.

3. Don’t assume she’s a “diversity hire”

Imagine hearing the words, “she’s a diversity hire,” and then realizing they’re talking about you. How would you feel? Angry? Demoralized?

When I meet a woman at work, I don’t assume she’s a “diversity hire.” Instead, I assume she’s got technical chops. Just sayin’.

How about you?

4. Take on our share of office housework

Women often get stuck with office housework, and guys, we need to do our share. Here’s a small step we all can take. At the start of a meeting, take responsibility to get everyone on the conference line and send DMs to anyone who’s missing. Don’t assume a woman in the room should take care of it.

Oh, and there’s more where that came from in 15 Ways Men Can Fight Workplace Gender Bias.

5. Interview for diversity experience

When I interview candidates for a people management position, I ask them about their prior experience building and leading diverse teams. Doing so not only sends a strong message this experience is important, but also gives great insight into their leadership style.

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

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