Conversations about wizardry, gender, and diversity

22 June 2013

Earlier this week, I ran into a brick wall of sexism. What happened after that was infinitely more interesting than the event itself.

Fellow boot and member of the cohort below me, Ericspoke to me during our lunch hour:

What can I do to help make this cohort better?

Elliott, Dev Bootcamp’s in house recruiter:

What you did was great. I want us to have conversations like that openly so we can make dbc and the field better. If you have any ideas, I want to hear them.

Lots of other great things happened on Twitter, too.

Peopleagreed with me strongly enough to share my message. This blew my mind:

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A mountain of support came in from people I had never spoken to before:

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And leaders in the field not only sympathizing, but working to make change happen where they can, too:

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One of my wonderful mentors embracing the joy of learning:

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And more support from dbc staff:

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Out of all the responses I received, and all of the support that was offered, the best thing came from Dave, our illustrious Chicago dbc co-founder. He didn’t want answers, he didn’t want an explanation. He just wanted to open up the option to talk. Not just about the wizard/witch comment, but about me, dbc, and how I felt about all of the things.

I want to check in with you. Lets talk.

The most important thing to come out of this was the support I received from all fronts. The support from Dev Bootcamp hasalways been there, even before this happened, and they were still there when I said things that could have been interpreted as making them look bad. They understood it as a conversation that this field needs to have and embraced the dialogue.

One last note about diversity in software development: it’s not just about men, women, and gender equity in the field.It’s about diversity, period, not just gender. We can’t forget that everyone has different privileges and oppressions in their lives. While I may be a minority because I’m a woman, I’m also white and heterosexual. We need to steer the conversation away from “how do we get more women into programming?” and toward “how do we get more women into programming and grow the diversity of the field?”