Recommended Reading for Allies
Etsy believes in the power of diversity. We believe that having diverse perspectives will help us make better decisions and build better products. We also know that it’s not enough to just recruit diverse talent: we’ve got to retain it!
A key to retaining diverse talent is fostering a supportive work environment. There are a lot of major organizational changes that can help (flexible work arrangements, equal pay, and opportunities for growth and leadership to name a few), but what can you—the individual—really do to help?
It sounds like you want to be an ally! An ally is a person in a position of privilege who offers to share the power, access, and authority that come with that privilege with members of a non-privileged group.
Diversity is intersectional, not limited to gender, race, or any other single axis of identity. Great news: Allyship is intersectional as well! If you’re a man, you can serve as an ally to women. If you’re white, you can serve as an ally to people of color. If you can see, you can serve as an ally to people with vision loss. Anyone can use their privilege to create opportunities for people more marginalized than themselves.
On August 11 in Dublin, Etsy software engineers Toria Gibbs and Ian Malpass will be running a workshop on being an effective male ally to people who identify as women and other underrepresented populations in tech.
One important strategy for being an effective ally is self-education. Women are frequently expected to teach introductory feminism and entertain discussions on “being a woman in tech” with anyone who asks. It’s a great burden to shoulder and frankly a waste of their time. You wouldn’t ask Rasmus to teach you how to write a Hello World program in PHP, right? No! You would go out and find the articles, tutorials, and forum threads that already exist for beginners.
With that, we introduce our list of recommended reading for allies.
- Feminism 101 on the Geek Feminism Wiki
- Feminism 101: Helpful Hints for Dudes by Melissa McEwan
- Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks (book)
Why do we need feminism? Analogies on privilege
- Ride like a girl by Nikki Lee
- Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is by John Scalzi
- Guide to Allyship An open source project by Amélie Lamont
- The Tricky (And Necessary) Business Of Being A Male Advocate For Gender Equality by Catherine Ashcraft
- On the Fixed State Ally Model vs. Process Model Ally Work by Melissa McEwan
- Women in Tech: The Facts by NCWIT
- Male Advocates and Allies by NCWIT
- Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher (book)
Opinion pieces, personal experiences
- Diversity for Sale by Anonymous
- The Year I Didn’t Retweet Men by Anil Dash
- Families and Tech Companies by Colm Doyle
- “I had so many advantages and I barely made it”: Pinterest engineer on Silicon Valley sexism by Tracy Chou
- On Nerd Entitlement by Laurie Penny (mature content)
- The “Women in Tech” movement is full of victim-blaming [BS] by Sarah Nadav
- Tech’s Male ‘Feminists’ Aren’t Helping by Cate Huston and Karen Catlin
Other fun stuff
- Are men talking too much? A simple site to measure who is dominating the conversation
- Project Implicit Test your own implicit bias!
- Tropes vs Women in Video Games A series of videos on female representation in gaming
- Parable of the Polygons Interactive blog post on the impact of implicit bias
While this list is not exhaustive, it should be more than enough to get you started on your journey. Happy learning!
If you’re interested in hosting your own event to promote male allyship, we recommend checking out NCWIT’s Male Allies and Advocates Toolkit or Ada Initiative’s Ally Skills Workshop.
You can read more about Etsy’s diversity in our latest annual Diversity and Equality Progress Report.
Update 08/12/2016: Slides from Toria and Ian’s presentation are now available on Speaker Deck!
Posted by Ian Malpass and Toria Gibbs on 19 Oct, 2016