Thoughts from the Editor
I am the editor of Code Like A Girl and I requested that Lance Gleason’s story, Women Developer Removed From a Women in Tech Group, to be included in this publication.
I knew there would be more to the story than a random woman not being included in a tech group for women, but whatever the reason, I felt it needed a voice.
Today I saw a tweet by Adam Morgan connecting his pod cast to the article I included in Code Like A Girl. I was excited to find out more about the situation.
I listened to the podcast on my way home from work. As predicted there is more than one side to this story. The podcast has given us insight into Marlene’s side, but as far as I know Rails Girls ATL and Rails Bridge have remained silent.
Marlene has stated that she joined both meetups in late December and then signed up as a volunteer to teach rails at an upcoming workshop. A number of days later she was dropped from both meetups without explanation. Despite her efforts they still have not given her a reason why she was removed.
She is a vocal member of Tech404, an Atlanta tech focused slack channel. Her views are of WIT issues are controversial and while I may not agree with many of her views I do believe that she has the right to vocalize them without being ostracized from these groups.
As a woman in tech, Marlene doesn’t share popular opinions and views on women in technology. Should she be banned from other Women In Tech groups because of these views? I don’t believe so. If she is willing and able to teach other women to code then I believe she should be allowed to do so, or at least given a reason as to why they feel she is inappropriate for her group.
A key part of living the values of inclusion and diversity is ensuring we are respectful, even with people we disagree with. Seeking to silence others, censoring or bullying is not okay. Ever.
If we exclude people, and worse if we demeans, harass, bully those we disagree with we are walking away from the values of inclusion and diversity. At Code Like A Girl, we strongly believe there are deep, systemic challenges that face women in technology and we believe that women deserve and have the right to equality of opportunity and that we have yet to achieve that.
We also believe that when working for change, we need to include our adversaries — not exclude them. The change we seek cannot be achieved if those who oppose that change are humiliated or defeated* — because the change we seek lifts up all of us. As Gandhi said, “The pursuit of truth does not permit violence on one’s opponent.”
Does that mean we have to allow toxic, destructive people in our communities? Not at all. But what we see in this story is a woman who has been silently banned with no explanation and no recourse.
We wish we knew more of this story and hope that Rails Girls ATL and Rails Bridge share the reason for Marlene’s exclusion, their membership policy and how it was applied in Marlene’s case.
*This is a paraphrase of a Gandhi quote.