Decency Charter for Technical Communities

I want to try and attract, recruit and retain people from diverse and different backgrounds, into technology careers and technical community.

I believe that Diversity and Inclusion is a positive asset. However, it can be cast in terms of the negative ‘Code of Conduct’. I see a CoC as leading on from a Decency Charter. The Decency Charter is a positive step that will help to recruit and retain people fro different backgrounds. A CoC is a negative step that has to react when there is a problem. I’m hoping that a Decency Charter will attract individuals who are, by nature, appreciative of Diversity and Inclusion, and it can form some thinking material for people who are not as inclusive in their approach, perhaps through a lack of opportunity to have exposure to, and knowledge about, people from other backgrounds.

I have read a lot of things which focus on technology sphere and the problems that it can bring to people who are in the minority. I know, because I am one of them. I was inspired by the Decency Pledge suggested by Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, and I can see how it can help the technical community. Rather than a Pledge, I felt that the word Charter was more universal but I’m more than happy to take feedback and please do leave comments.

It has also been my experience that some of the best and most rich friendships have come from the technology industry and community. In this group, I am fortunate to count men as well as women and there are so many men out there who are allies, possibly without even seeing themselves as such. Their kindness is valued. I have had problems, but I believe that people are mainly good at heart.

I believe that most people are great and well-intentioned, and I do not want their voices to be drowned out by people who do not have the same good intentions, goodwill, or good behaviour of the vast majority of people.

I’d like to propose a Decency Charter, which incorporates the Diversity Charter that I raised recently. I hope that you will please leave comments and perspectives. I am not arrogant and I do not assume that I never make mistakes, and I am stating this here so that it forms part of the story.

I don’t want this to be a Jen thing. I’d like to open source this, so that tech groups can show themselves for what they are: nice, smart people who want to learn, connect and share. So here goes:

light bulb Brainstorm: Decency Charter

Goal of the Decency Charter
We want  to improve, promote and maintain a healthy ethical climate of real inclusion across our community. We embrace a healthy mix of skills, views, experience and background to ensure that technical community is available equally to everyone. 
By upholding the Decency Charter, we confirm our commitment to creating a more diverse technical community, and this is a key expression of who we are.
Status:
Draft for review by interested parties
Related
Based on earlier Diversity Charter, and incorporates it

Inspiration

The Diversity Charter is part of a wider Decency Charter. It sets out more detail about positive things that the technical community can do in order to attract, recruit and  retain people from different backgrounds.

Ideas

The main objective here is to create a visible commitment to embed inclusivity and diversity throughout the community organisation. 

What we believe

We believe that all members of the technical community are equally important.
We are part a tech community where we value a diverse network, and learn and share from one another:
regardless of age,
regardless of colour,
regardless of their ethnicity,
regardless of their religion or beliefs,
regardless of disability,
regardless of gender,
regardless of sexual orientation,
regardless of their race,
regardless of their ability or lack of ability,
regardless of nationality or accent.
We are a diverse tech community where we are all individuals with differences, but we are all members and we can all learn from each other.

What we stand for

We always seek to treat those around us with warmth, understanding, and respect. We aim to act in a responsible, professional, respectful and healthy manner. We aim to treat everyone equally, fairly and with all respect. We will work tirelessly to build a more fair and safe technical community for all. 
In particular, we won’t tolerate sexual harassment or gender discrimination. We have a Zero Tolerance approach to harassment in any form. We do not ignore the power relationships that exist, and we do not favour one group over another. We will hold the same position for all  our members, and we work towards ensuring that the technical community is a welcoming, diverse and inclusive place to connect, learn and share.
We will stand with you.

What we will do

If there is an issue, we will act upon any issues that you tell us about. When complaints arise, we will take take action in a prompt, clearly defined, and consequential manner.
It’s ok not to feel totally comfortable with other people’s viewpoints. It’s what you do about it that counts. Diversity impacts everyone. 

Ways to Demonstrate Positivity

CoC
Separate document to follow but there should be clear guidelines on what people can do if something happens to them. There is a clear need for confidentiality and anonymity.
I am reviewing this section with community leaders who represent different backgrounds. religions and perspectives so I can provide a better, whole list that shows how we can demonstrate our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. I will blog separately when this important piece of work is at a stage for public review.

Next steps for groups to show diversity

  •  Develop an inclusive website (Example: Azure WordPress implementation with WordPress add-ins for accessibility?)
  •  Develop inclusive PowerPoint materials to assist attendees with visual and hearing impairments to navigate the educational material (https://support.office.com/en-us/article/make-your-powerpoint-presentations-accessible-6f7772b2-2f33-4bd2-8ca7-dae3b2b3ef25) 
  •  Introduce local students and apprenticeships to the  technical community. This should introduce a diversity of membership.
  •  Social media advertising can include appropriate hashtags and keywords in advertising campaigns for events in order to show supporting and connecting with diverse communities. For example: #equality #empowerment #Diversity #DiversityAndInclusion 
  •  Have a clearly identified Code of Conduct / Anti Harassment Policy to show what will happen in the event of any issues (This is the next step)
  •  logo

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