Hi everyone, Pine and I had this exchange in diversity which I thought might be of interest more broadly so reposting here.
Best, Victoria > Begin forwarded message: > > From: Victoria Coleman <vcole...@wikimedia.org> > Subject: Re: How to increase the diversity of Wikimedia technical > contributors and staff? > Date: August 9, 2017 at 2:33:03 AM GMT-4 > To: Pine W <wiki.p...@gmail.com> > Cc: "Addressing gender equity and exploring ways to increase the > participation of women within Wikimedia projects." > <gender...@lists.wikimedia.org>, Angel Lewis <ale...@wikimedia.org>, Maggie > Dennis <mden...@wikimedia.org> > > Pine, > > thank you for bringing up this important topic. The Google internal memo > certainly brought the diversity issue in sharp relief. I don’t profess to be > an expert on diversity in STEM but I do want to share some thoughts based on > my own professional experience as well as some academic research that I have > recently come across. > > The first thing to note is participation of women in computer science is > actually growing. For example, in 2015 Computer Science was the top major > for women at Stanford > (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-women-technology-stanford-idUSKCN0S32F020151009 > > <http://www.reuters.com/article/us-women-technology-stanford-idUSKCN0S32F020151009>). > I serve on the Advisory Board of the Computer Engineering Department at > Santa Clara University and although the numbers are not as striking, the > proportion of women has been steadily increasing. Of course women represent > only one dimension of the diversity issue but perhaps the patterns here may > be instructive for other groups. So I don’t think this is a “pipeline” issue > any more. I am sure it once was (certainly it was when I started my career) > but it is not so now. So if more women and minorities enter STEM professions > why is it that we have so little representation of these groups in mid and > senior levels? Well, the answer seems to be that people in these groups leave > STEM careers in much greater numbers than other groups. So it seems to be a > problem of retention vs intake. Academic research that I have recently come > across from UC Irvine, MIT, Rice and McGill makes for interesting reading as > we try to unpack why this is the case. In , the authors make a shocking > (to me) statement: > > “The field of engineering is a particularly robust site for > understanding gendered processes of professional socialization because it > remains the most gender-segregated field among STEM occupations at all career > stages” > > Why this is the case is certainly a topic that merits both research, analysis > and action. In  the researchers found that unfairness drives turnover and > that unfairness is most pronounced in the tech industry especially in women > of all backgrounds and underrepresented men of color.  argues that > professional role confidence, in other words an individual’s confidence in > their ability to successfully fulfill the roles, competencies, and identity > features of a profession, and women’s lack of this confidence , compared to > men, reduces their likelihood of remaining in engineering majors and careers. > > These are my thoughts and I warmly welcome those of others in the community. > We have a lot of work to do to understand the diversity dynamics in our > communities. The Foundation is committed and actively engaged in > understanding the diversity challenges within staff and the volunteer > community. Some of our initiatives are captured in > https://office.wikimedia.org/wiki/Diversity_and_Inclusion > <https://office.wikimedia.org/wiki/Diversity_and_Inclusion> but I am sure > there is lot more that can and should be done. > > Best regards, > > Victoria > >  C. Seron, S.S. Silbey, E. Cech, B. Rubineau, Persistence Is Cultural: > Professional Socialization and the Reproduction of Sex Segregation, Work and > Occupations, Vol. 43(2) 178-214, 2016 >  Tech Leavers Study: A first-of-its-kind analysis of why people > voluntarily left jobs in tech, Ford Foundation, Kapor Center for Social > Impact, April 27, 2017 >  E. Cech, B. Rubineau, S. Silbey, C. Serron, Professional Role Confidence > and Gendered Persistence in Engineering, American Sociological Review, Vol > 76(5), 641-666, 2011 > > >> On Aug 6, 2017, at 10:31 PM, Pine W <wiki.p...@gmail.com >> <mailto:wiki.p...@gmail.com>> wrote: >> >> I read the unofficial Google internal memo that has been the subject of some >> controversy, and upon reading it my Wikipedian-trained instincts were to >> wonder where the citations were that should, if they were available, have >> supported numerous assertions that were made in that memo. I'm not an expert >> in diversity -- and I suspect that the author of that memo isn't, either. In >> the absence of verifiable and reliable sources, I'm skeptical of numerous >> assertions that were made in that document. >> >> This leads me a question that I've had in mind for awhile. How can we >> increase the diversity of Wikimedia technical contributors and staff? I'm >> referring both to gender diversity and racial diversity (people of African >> descent appear to be significantly under-represented). >> >> My unscientific hunch is that what would help is increasing people at young >> ages to consider a career in a science, technology, engineering, or math >> ("STEM") field, and then continuing to support their interest from >> elementary school through college. >> >> (Personal story: I was a poor performer at math in middle school and at one >> point I emotionally gave up on the subject, yet I did significantly better >> when I reached college and (a) had instructors whose styles were more >> compatible with how I learn and (b) had classroom environments that were >> more supportive of learning.) >> >> I don't know to what extent Wikimedia should be involved in encouraging >> people at early ages to become interested and stay involved with STEM, and I >> think that we should ask ourselves if perhaps this is an area in which we >> should make some financial and time investments, with the goal of >> facilitating development of diverse candidates into engineering and >> technical roles for the community as well as organizations like WMDE and >> WMF. We probably shouldn't be steering people at young ages to make >> long-term commitments to STEM or the Wikimedia ecosystem, but perhaps we >> could take some actions that would at least encourage them if they seem to >> be interested in STEM to continue their academic growth in those domains. I >> don't know if there is data that explains how gender and racial disparities >> develop and how to address them, but my hunch is that the earlier that the >> issues are addressed, the better. >> >> I don't know what other options to suggest; perhaps people here will have >> some ideas. I'd particularly like to invite Victoria to the conversation; >> perhaps she can comment sometime in the next several days (probably not for >> several hours, since this is still Sunday evening on the US west coast). >> >> Hoping to hear some thoughtful discussion, >> >> Pine >> > _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l New messages to: Wikimediaemail@example.com Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>