Much has been made of statistics on women in engineering and technology fields, but on the other side of the numbers and ratios are the women themselves working day by day in the field. According to a Brazen study, hiring statistics for women in technology are on the rise. Now, women are finding how they fit in what has long been a boys club.
Microsoft recently found itself on the unpopular end of the discussion. At the Xbox party at the Game Developer’s Conference, women dressed in sexy schoolgirl outfits danced on podiums. Pictures and tweets about the incident went viral. Kamina Vincent, an editor of Tin Man Games, was at the party and expressed anger over the incident.
“I like dancing, I like talking to devs. But not at this #GDC16 party. Thanks for pushing me out of this party, Microsoft,” she tweeted.
I like dancing, I like talking to devs. But not at this #GDC16 party. Thanks for pushing me out of this party, Microsoft.
— Kamina Vincent (@spamoir) March 18, 2016
Microsoft quickly offered a mea culpa, but the incident once again brought up a constant issue when it comes to the role of women in a technology field. As simply as Vincent put, women don’t feel welcome at the party; they want to be there as guests, not up on the podium.
A Microsoft-initiated female coder forum, Codess, is asking women to share what they think makes a diverse work environment a welcoming one.
The #CodeofConduct campaign is a Twitter initiative by Codess. It encourages women in the workplace to tweet things that they believe would create a more inclusive workspace. To be part of the campaign, women write down a rule on a piece of paper, with the #CodeofConduct hashtag, then take a picture and share it on Twitter. No Twitter? No problem, Codess still wants to see submissions via email.
Ideas are already circulating on the hashtag, with women encouraging others and the industry as a whole to take risks, speak out, and open up to new ideas.
There’s a proven need for a code of conduct when it comes to diversity and inclusion in technology. A study, conducted in the aftermath of the 2015 Ellen Pao trial, gathered shocking statistics in a survey of more than 200 women.
Named Elephant in the Valley, the survey focused on women with at least 10 years of experience. In that number, 84 percent were told they were too aggressive, 66 percent reported feeling excluded from social and networking opportunities, and 88 percent experienced an unconscious bias, meaning clients or colleagues addressed questions to male peers rather than them.
Most troubling, 66 percent reported unwanted sexual advances, and 60 percent of those who reported harassment felt dissatisfied with the course of action, many saying they did nothing at all for fear it would negatively impact their career.
The #CodeofConduct is a way to gather positive changes from women in the field. And it also makes for a great, and inspiring, time of hashtag surfing.