Diversity in Tech: Improving our Toolset

Description

Diversity in Tech: Improving our Toolset

Presented by Jennifer Leech

As communities allow more diversity, they draw from a larger talent pool, challenge each other more, and hit a higher bar in terms of ingenuity and work-product. However questions surrounding diversity often seem under- examined. What are the effects of diversity in the community, or lack thereof? I intend to approach this topic from an accessible and entertaining, yet analytical perspective.

Abstract

Last year there was a photo of Kate Moss shown during a PyCon presentation which raised debate as to its appropriateness. This debate brought up some interesting questions - but what I found most interesting was that while it elicited strong opinions, the issue seemed to be somewhat unexamined. This event sparked a desire for deeper analysis on this topic in a more focussed setting.

In this talk, I intend to address some of the core principles underlying this debate. Discussion will include the following questions: Where does responsibility lie in understanding these issues? What are the effects of failing to do so? What are the effects of diversity in the community, or lack thereof? What do we lose by being more homogenous or more diverse? Gain?

As communities allow more diversity, they draw from a larger talent pool, challenge each other more, and hit a higher bar in terms of ingenuity and work-product. However, diversity requires awareness and tolerance on both the part of the dominant culture and on the part of the new arrivals to smooth the inevitable rough edges.

I intend to approach this topic from an accessible, inclusive and entertaining, yet analytical perspective. The broader intent is to raise the level of understanding and community discourse on this topic. It is odd that diversity can so dramatically affect our lives and communities and yet be unexamined, particularly in a community so highly intelligent and educated as that which populates the tech industry.