The Accidental Tech podcast crew talk about sexism in tech, and in general. John Siracusa makes some very good points that apply to mindset and vocabulary that apply to both tech, the workplace and discrimination in general.
Listen to episode 57 of ATP. This particular conversation kicks in at 55:20 and continue of the rest of the episode.
To paraphrase the points to which I agree with most:
Be mindful of your use of particular vocabulary usually instilled in us in an innocent way due to our culture or upbringing, that has the potential to unknowingly insult & upset people. This kind of subtle sea-change although seems a small effort to make in on the scale of you and your conversations really matters, and making a concerted effort not to upset people regardless of your intentions is an important thing to do. We need to un-train our minds of these words & phrases that have been conditioned into us over the course of our lives.
Be more aware of it, call people on it when you hear it, and above all be vocal if you think something is going on that shouldn’t. Also just don’t work for bad people. Well meaning people are often paralysed by the fear they might do something wrong, but doing nothing is usually worse. Speak up.
We hire a female designer here at Every Interaction (making up a fifth of our workforce at present), and we’re proud to say she is probably the most talented person on our team and one of the best designers we’ve ever worked with. She is well respected and treated equally with the respect she deserves regardless of her abilities or gender. I for one am glad to see more dialogue occurring in the industry of late as talking about will inevitably move us forwards to a more gender balanced industry and world.
As pointed out by John in the podcast, it’s incredible how sexist this apparent female empowerment movie from 1988 seems to us already, and how too people looking back at us in 25 years will look upon the way we behave today.
Another interesting discussion on This week in startups talking about the github story, when Jason talks openly about how he has changed his vocabulary that he was horrified to discover was offending people. It’s not always about sexism – it’s easy to unknowingly offend people in other ways too. 47:30 onwards. 59:00 for Jason’s lines about removing words from his vocabulary.