#CauseAScene Conference 2018

Last month, dxw had the pleasure of sponsoring the first #CauseAScene conference. It is a part of our Diversity & Inclusion initiative to create awareness of job opportunities for marginalized people and to gain a better insight into obstacles they have faced and what they’ve done to try and make a difference.

Kim Crayton, the main organiser of the#CauseAScene conference, gave a presentation which covered the definitions of Racism, which are :

Her presentation went onto quoting from dismantlingracism.org, ‘Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those policies and practices.’

She highlighted the importance of discussing the economics of white supremacy because, ‘To do better, those who benefit from the economics of white supremacy must be willing to prioritise the needs and safety of the most vulnerable in our communities in order that we all benefit from the collective brilliance of organizations that are able to innovate, differentiate, and gain and maintain competitive advantage.’

Franzi, an engineering manager and co-founder of Queer Code London, gave an interesting talk about treating your recruitment process as a user experience by using personas and going through the entire application stage by stage. They mentioned having relevant information in advance, quick process and also receiving constructive feedback are key ingredients for a good application process. Considering implementing your own SLA for communication management is something we could also explore.

Sapphire Manson is an event organiser for AfroTech and she spoke about the international barriers at tech events and gave suggestions in order to make an event inclusive and not exclusive. These are:

At dxw, we already do many of the things that have been suggested, such as making our events free to attend, a lift to the first-floor meeting room, and we have a wellbeing room as a quiet space.

Arora Ashani, the lead organiser of Non-Binary in Tech, spoke about how isolated society can be when you do not fit in what is regarded as the ‘social norm’. Therefore, she created the first meetup called NBit for those who identify themselves as non-binary people. She echoed Sapphire Manson by making her event free entry and creating a safe space for non-binary people to come together.

In Coraline Ada Ehmke’s presentation ‘The Warrior’, she gave a sample of the written abuse she receives on a daily basis from strangers online because she is identified as a trans woman. Despite all the good work she has done throughout her career,  for instance, creating the Contributor Covenant which is a code of conduct for Open Source Projects. She wanted to be a speaker at#CauseAScene conference because she felt it was the only safe space to raise awareness of online abuse.

After attending this event, I’ve learned the importance of taking into consideration the support structure we have for members of staff who may fall victim to online abuse. Social media can often be used to promote the good work we do, but we need to make it our duty to call out those who evoke hostility towards our friends and colleagues, especially those who are marginalised.