Wow, quite a long time since I last wrote a blog post, which clearly hinted towards at least a part two one day. I recently started blogging elsewhere (more on that below) and kinda forgot about my old blog. Lately I have been getting spam on it though, which reminded me of this old post. So here comes part two. I should add that it didn?t really take me 5 years to mature my thoughts on this topic, it just ended up that I communicated those thoughts in other places.
That being said, one of the first learnings as I dove into this topic was that that step one was listening and learning. Basically I started expanding my twitter timeline to include more people specifically tweeting about the issues of diversity and inclusion. But also simply following more people with marginalized communities talking about tech.
I paid attention to the dynamics in discussions. But one of the most clear ways I finally realized and fully accepted that meritocracy is a myth came with this github study that showed that while acceptance rates of PRs from women were well below those of men, the acceptance rate of PRs from women that hid their gender even slightly outpaced those of men.
Due to this reality and the constant pins and needles on top of deliberate harassment, where keeping people from marginalized communities away and pushing those that made it out. We keep hearing about some pipeline problem but the real issue is that people from marginalized communities just see no point in staying. But obviously this is not the root cause. Just going from my personal experience at Liip, I can name more female developers that left IT than male, despite us having way more male developers. The good news here, better diversity is entirely possible in tech if we actually work hard on inclusion. This is why people say ?diversity means nothing without inclusion?.
So with those realizations, I came across a tweet in the spring of 2017 by Erin pointing out the issues with an all white men speaker line up for a SymfonyLive event in the US. I first started rattling off excuses (note sure if just in my head or also in tweets), but eventually this finally gave me the kick I needed to become active. So I started reading more blog posts on the topic. Thanks to Liip?s education budget for all its employees, I ended up hiring Sage Sharp to help me figure out the next steps Symfony should be taken and what pitfalls to avoid that could cause further harm.
I was very happy to find that the Symfony core team was very receptive to this topic. Later that year we formally launched the diversity initiative. More importantly the community, aside from a few voices, was supportive as well and willing to learn and welcome change. We focused on several topics, like improving the language in our docs and on the website. We worked on guides for how to give and receive feedback in issues and PRs but more importantly we also worked on making those a lived reality. Quickly contributors started approaching the diversity initiative for support when they encountered situations where they felt overwhelmed. This helped deescalate a lot of situations but also helped train many contributors.
We also implemented a diversity scholarship to allow people from marginalized communities, that could otherwise not attend, to come and join us at SymfonyCon. One of the biggest successes was the adoption of a code of conduct, which lays the groundwork for safety as we hope to grow our diversity. More importantly, we worked in defining reporting processes and get the CARE (Code of Conduct Active Response Ensurers) trained by Sage Sharp so that they are prepared properly to enforce the code of conduct and sure reporters are properly protected and supported. Overall from the feedback I have seen we have made significant strides in improving our communication and openness. You can read more about this on the Symfony blog.
That being said, all of this hasn?t fixed our demographic issues within the Symfony community. There are still only men on the core team. While there are more visible figures within the Symfony community with a diverse background, we are still miles away from even just reaching the demographic representation of the proprietary software world, let alone the world in general. This is a long long
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