#4: Race and Gender in Technology

In this episode we attempt to have an enlightened conversation about race and gender in technology. Why choose to tackle such a controversial topic? Because we believe that making technology more equitable and diverse would accelerate innovation and benefit our entire industry (and all who benefit from our industry).

Technology sometimes appears like an field that is naturally meritocratic, but when you dig further down, you find that we are still far from that ideal. From overt discrimination and harassment to subtle social cues that suggest that someone “might not belong”, there are many factors that favor straight, white, upper middle class men who are white and perhaps Asian. There’s a lot more we all can do to make working in technology (as a developer or otherwise) more accessible to underrepresented groups.

We cover a ton of ground here: differences in interview questions ask men vs women, recognizing privilege of race and gender, improving conference participation, the weird racial elements of power rangers, and more.

We tried to honest, hard-hitting, and open minded, and we hope you find this episode both educational and enjoyable.

Sarah + Jason

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Show Notes

RailsBridge – Sarah’s nonprofit dedicated to increasing diversity in the technology community through free training workshops in cities across the world (and new parent organization Bridge Foundry).

Loud. Arrogant. Rebellious. Asian – Jason’s blog post on how he strives to break Asian American stereotypes. Inspired by the New York Magazine article Paper Tigers.

Privilege – systematic benefits and advantages that usually accrue to the more powerful subgroup of a population. Here is a comic explaining white privilege, this is a list of 50 white priviledges and 46 male privileges.

Straight White Male: the lowest difficulty setting there is – a hilarious and wonderfully nerdy description of privilege without the academic language

Technical Asian Privilege – while Asians often suffer from being a minority group, Philip Guo wrote a great article on how sometimes being Asian can be a benefit.

Why More Women Conference Speakers – Sarah’s blog post on getting more women speaking at conferences.

To make conferences more diverse look beyond white men – Sarah Milstein’s article on successful techniques for getting diverse conference speakers.

Female Founders – Paul Graham’s essay on his perspective on women entrepreneurs and how to increase their number

Books – We referenced several books in the show, including Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock

The Gender Trap reviews research on how women and men are perceived differently for the same behavior: “different vocabulary used to describe similar qualities in men (confident, take-charge, committed) and women (bossy, aggressive, emotional).”

Editorial: Improving Publication Quality by Reducing Bias with Double-Blind Reviewing and Author Response – “Compared to single-blind reviewing, every study so far shows double-blind reviewing improves the outcome of the process”

What We Learned About America From Richard Sherman – a few interesting thoughts about the controversial post-game interview of the Seattle Seahawks cornerback that got lots of people up in arms

What Would the Yellow Ranger Do? – Explaining why a seemingly innocuous question (“Where are you from?”) could actually be really frustrating to someone.



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