Last week, the incident at PyCon 2013 about sexual comments made in joking fashion, photos posted on twitter to oust those that made the comments, firing of two employees and the disturbing racial, criminal and sexual remarks on the social media feeds. I guess on the social scene it’s referred to as “Donglegate”. But the disturbing comments were not warranted. Many, both men and women, have their own views about the inappropriate comments made at the conference, how the incident was reported and how the two companies handle the situation and the firing of two employees. I’m sure company social media policies and conference communication and incident procedures are already being changed and posted. Will there be room for mistakes? I thought we are supposed to learn from our mistakes and failures because it only makes us stronger and smarter. I’m not writing to fuel the fires of the incident but rather discuss how we want to see change in the tech community.
No one argues the fact that the tech scene is still a male-dominated community in all aspects of the tech industry. As a woman in tech, I what really bothered me is that it escalated to the “rape and death threats,” then the racial slurs started to appear as well. Is this the community we want to be a part of when we are promoting innovation? We have a responsibility to the next generation of techies, girls and boys, who are excited about technology and coding! What kind of tech community will they find in 10 years? What kind of example are we setting for them?
I love engaging girls and women in computing and teaching them about the wonderful opportunities there are in technology. I wonder how they see the tech community; the same old boy’s club or a more open community that is geeky but cool? I work with men and women daily that are inclusive and want diversity in our workplace. The collaboration enables us to take all of our ideas and passions and mold them into very creative products that bring incredible value to the way we communicate and live our lives. Now that’s the technical community I know we are capable of fostering and growing for both men and women.
After the disappointing days about “Donglegate,” seriously, I am so ready to work and meet great technical people who want real positive change so we can innovate together. Will the real tech community please stand? I stand with you. We have the opportunity to make choices today that will affect change tomorrow. Let’s be the change we want to see in the tech world!
Let’s just code!