At last, efforts to diversify the tech sector are picking up momentum in Portland and beyond. But the conversation around diversity and inclusion tends to remain focused on the hiring pipeline. This talk analyzes the root causes of lack of racial and gender diversity in tech, going beyond the pipeline to discuss bigger-picture social forces. We'll also cover a few key ways that we, tech folks, hold the power to make change at a personal, company, and societal level. If you want to know what it will take to reach a diverse tech community -- and how you personally can help create change -- join us for this talk!
Over the last 18months Ive been transitioning from female to male. I identify as a transman. Negotiating tech space has been quite challenging, as I came into this transition in my mid thirties after working in tech as a woman for nearly two decades. As a long time member of the women in tech community I find it difficult to negotiate space as I transition; I have neither the network nor the social background of a cis man in tech and the women in tech community, while welcoming trans women and non binary people, has not been as accepting of trans males. Id like to talk about my experience to start a conversation in the tech community about the need for space for folks like myself, and perhaps broader ideas about delineating space by gender.
This is a talk about selfies. As a woman, and even more so as a trans woman, I'm constantly told by society that I'm not attractive, I'm not desirable, and that I should be ashamed by my appearance. That, of course, is ridiculous, and part of the way I'm taking back my self-confidence and identity is by taking many, many, selfies. And it's not just me: I've got a twitter feed full of amazing selfies from people who dare to be proud of how they look. I'm going to talk about what selfies mean to me, why they're important to marginalised groups like trans women, and of course, how to take amazing selfies, and flip off the patriarchy in the process.
One of the most effective ways to battle our industry's lack of inclusion, diversity, and job retention is developing quality mentors to help aid minorities throughout their careers. In the tech industry, we currently lack the ability to produce mentors who are able to effectively teach and connect with their minority protégés. It's because of this that minorities are feeling excluded at work and are unable to climb up the corporate ladder at the same pace as their non-minority protégés. This results in minorities feeling alienated, and often leaving their respective companies.
In this talk, we discuss what changes we can make in the way we mentor to give our minority protégés the best chance to succeed. We will take a look at some of the struggles that I faced throughout my software developer apprenticeship, and pinpoint the sources of my success. In conjunction, we will also look at various case studies of other minority professionals who were both successful and unsuccessful in their attempts to climb the corporate ladder.
Secrets can be scary if they get out. That's the very feeling I had when I wrote a Medium post revealing my biggest secret, which was read by thousands.
In this talk, I will share the story of how and why I came to share this secret with the world. I'll also talk about how sharing this ultimately made me a better teammate, developer, and person, and how it had the complete opposite reaction than I expected. Through these experiences, I’ll share my insights on why being more open benefits you and your team.
At the beginning of the modern technological era, to be a computer was to be an actual literal woman—someone trained in math and computation. Decades later, women are desperately underrepresented in most technical pursuits, with an increasingly “leaky” pipeline leaving fewer and fewer women throughout our career progression. Not only are we excluded, but the contributions of past women are erased almost as soon as they happen. Women of color, queer women, trans women, and those on other axes of marginalization encounter this even more strongly.
Would it surprise you to discover that this isn’t an accident? Or that it isn’t merely a reflection of biases in society in general? I’ll talk about the ways that masculinity in tech has been constructed over time to create a more “elite”, higher paid, more homogenous workforce, and to sell technology to a highly targeted population. In the end, we’ll explore how to write a new narrative: one that includes everyone who desires to create better technology, without the gatekeeping and bias.
Imagine, for a bit, that you have no connections. No family to rely on, and no friendships stronger than acquaintance... but you are pretty good at computers, people pay lots of money for work on computers right?! This is a situation that plays out for trans women on a fairly regular basis. Suddenly finding themselves without anyone to rely on, but having a faint idea that one day they could be working at, idk, Apple. A lot of trans women go through this, and a lot of trans women succeed! This dynamic has created a certain culture, and that culture gets stronger with every generation of trans woman that successfully goes through it.
I'll be talking about my experience with that culture, what sort of things it creates, and where I think it's going.
Recent progress in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) has led to an explosion of practical AI applications, along with growing public awareness and concerns regarding the advancing capabilities of AI. Though the popular rhetoric surrounding AI is rife with sensation and hyperbole, there are very real and present ways in which AI has the power to do more harm than good. This is not due to the nature of AI itself, but rather the (often unchecked) intentions of the humans that programmed and trained the algorithms. I argue that no algorithm is objective -- in practical use, every algorithm is reflective of its creators' intent, and AI is no exception.
In this talk, we'll start with a brief primer on what the term "AI" is actually referring to (spoiler: it's just algorithms!) and discuss misconceptions surrounding the supposed "objectivity" of algorithms. We will then take a look at real-world applications of AI and the ways in which they can reinforce existing systemic biases and perpetuate social inequalities. Finally, I'll conclude with some examples of recent work that address these issues, as well as some thoughts on why conscious intention on the creator's behalf is crucial in the design of AI.
It's well documented that most tech cultures (companies, FLOSS projects, hacker spaces, etc) are NOT inclusive. But how do you move an existing culture from less inclusive to more inclusive? Privilege Arbitrage, based on an awareness of one's own privilege & how it compares to those around them, is a method I'm proposing. By actively using one's higher situational privilege to benefit those with lower situational privilege, cultures can be changed. After a brief explanation, practical examples will be provided. I don't promise they'll be easy.
Do you ever finish your work for the day feeling absolutely drained, exhausted to the point that you no longer have energy for your hobbies or passion projects? Crafting beautiful and functional software, communicating effectively with your team, and continuing to learn new technologies all require immense creative and emotional effort — which may be exacerbated by marginalized status. True work-life balance considers not just the breakdown of time on your calendar, but the quality of that time and the energy invested in different aspects of your day. Learn practical techniques for managing your emotional and creative energy at work to prevent burn-out and reclaim your personal time.