Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Inclusive Meetings, Affinity Groups, and the Speaking Gigs We Accept

5 Ally Actions | Sept 7, 2018

Image courtesy of #WOCinTechChat

Each week, we share five simple actions to create a more inclusive tech workplace.

1. Message co-workers when you spot non-inclusive behavior

We’ve shared this tip before, and we think it’s worth sharing again. Let’s face it. Most of us heavily utilize back-channels in meetings. Whether using Slack DMs, Zoom chats, texts, or something else, we send messages during meetings to support co-workers, share ideas, ask questions, and so on.

We can also use back-channels to point out, confidentially, when a co-worker could be a better ally. Here’s what it might look like:

  • Dude, you forgot to give Miriam a shout-out in your project update. Circle back to her; it’s not too late.
  • Hey, Jasmine made that same point earlier in the meeting. Give her some credit?
  • You may not realize it, but you keep interrupting Willie. How about steering the convo back to him?

Maybe you’ve DM’d a colleague to encourage them to be more inclusive, too? If so, send us an email. We’re collecting more of these ideas for a future newsletter, and look forward to hearing from you.

2. Run inclusive meetings

Speaking of being more inclusive during meetings, Atlassian released a tool-agnostic guide we bet you’ll find helpful. As they explain, “Running meetings is hard. Running meetings that give all team members a sense of belonging is even harder.”

Check out their free guide for ideas how you can create a more inclusive meeting culture.

3. Encourage information sharing across your team

The Harvard Business Review published research this week by Burcu Subaşi that shows we’re more likely to share business information with people from similar cultural backgrounds as ourselves.

Not only can a lack of information impact the performance of an underrepresented employee, the article also points out, “if certain employees are not receiving vital business information, it will eventually have a negative impact on the larger organization.”

Here’s one idea to combat this behavior. During team meetings, encourage people to share information and ask questions. In fact, make it a standing agenda item.

4. Support affinity groups for underrepresented genders and minorities

Also in this week’s Harvard Business Review, Anne Welsh McNulty wrote about women’s networks and how “conversations between women have massive benefits for the individual and the organization.”

We believe the same has to be true for conversations between members of any underrepresented group.

As allies, let’s think about how we can support these groups at our company. In the next round of performance reviews, how about recognizing the work done by the leaders of group? When we have a new hire joining our team, do we make sure they know how about the groups and how to join them? If we have budget, can we sponsor lunch or pay for other activities? You get the idea.

5. Diversify your speaker lineup (yup, once again)

Another week, another all-white male speaker lineup at a tech conference. As Coraline Ada Ehmke tweeted about the upcoming Ruby Meditation event, “Seriously, all white dudes? In 2018?”

Let’s all remember to ask about diversity before accepting speaking engagements. And men, consider signing the Gender Avenger Pledge: “I will not serve as a panelist at a public conference when there are no women on the panel.”

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

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