In the past years, we have been engaging in initiatives to encourage diversity and inclusion in tech. In doing so, we are constantly trying to learn and help others learn more about how diversity and inclusion can be fostered in the organizational and wider societal context. 

This is why at the end of 2019 we reached out to our community partners to understand their viewpoints and activities surrounding diversity and inclusion. 

Here is what PyLadies wanted to share with us: 

They are a local chapter of PyLadies that exist to promote diversity and inclusivity in the Python community. 

How do you define diversity and inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion for me mean that everyone, no matter which label society gave you, feels safe to speak up and share ideas within a group. I believe by speaking openly about differences and similarities between people, we are able to embrace those unique qualities people have, so we can build stronger and happier teams.

How would you describe your organization’s strategy for diversity and inclusion?

PyLadies is a mentor group that provides a safe community space for marginalized genders who are interested in (learning) Python. By holding coding events with women only in the main acts, we are actually the opposite from diverse I would say, haha. At the moment our events are attended by 90% women. But this was part of the strategy in order to grow our female (or those who rather identify as female) member base, faster. As women are still underrepresented in technology jobs, we knew that diversity would come once these women started to invite their co-workers or friends, because the odd is just higher this +1 would be male. But at this point we 

What initiatives have you implemented in order to reach your goals for inclusion and diversity?

As we grow from 300 to over 600 members within just 4 months, we grow not only in volume but also in velocity ranging from all hair, skin, gender and sexual preference within our member base. I think this is because our formula is working for our target audience. With our workshop style, we let programmers do what they love: writing code. Of course, being highly active on social media and encouraging our members to bring their (male) friends to our meetups helps too!

Which of your initiatives have been particularly successful? What was the experience like?

it a funny thing fact, but you will never hear us talking about diversity and inclusion at our meetups, we just act upon it by making sure we have always talented women in front of the group and in ‘helping’ positions. We put these women in a powerful role and have them answers the ‘though’ questions. We believe this is highly effective because then other women feel encouraged and saver to speak up, and maybe more important, men see highly skilled (female) engineers in action.

What do you recommend that other organizations should do in order to incorporate more diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

  • If you are hiring: try your best to give that spot to an under presented group and be biased in hiring until we have more women in higher positions. With this I mean invite more women to the interview, even if at first a means’ resume seems more fitting, unfortunately, I believe this only way. 
  • Encourage women in a higher position to participate in mentorship programs
  • Give bias training within your organisation

What initiatives have you implemented in order to reach your goals for inclusion and diversity?

We reached our goal if we can achieve a close to 50/50 ratio between men en women in technology departments so that groups like PyLadies do not have to exist anymore.

We organise coding workshops whereby people work toward a goal together and interacting with each other in order to improve their coding styles. Every meetup we remember our members that they have to ask a question, that we will look at their code and they should not be ashamed for it. There is no such thing as stupid questions and we will support you no matter what. Besides that, we ask our members to bring their male friends. We find it important that we mix up and that men see powerful women on stage.

How do you attract employees who value diversity and inclusion?

By hosting PyLadies events 😉 

 How can organizations like WeAreDevelopers help you achieve your diversity and inclusion initiatives?

At the moment we are working towards organizing a free python bootcamp and free Machine learning day, will are looking for companies that love that idea too and can help us with opening up their space to host these events. But there is so much more: follow us on LinkedIn or visit our website and you will find out!

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