Speak Up, But But Not Too Loudly

  1. I was really happy that not only did DroidCon NYC have a COC, but they arranged a diversity panel/workshop hybrid and invited the whole community to get involved.
  2. It was a positive experience (not without hiccups that I'll describe below). And I sketchnoted my experience.
  3. That's why I was so dismayed to read this in last week's Technically Speaking:
  4. "We’re inspired by @corey_latislaw storming the stage at Droidcon NYC to do a little womansplaining when men were advocating going to HR as the answer to harassment. Read about it in Chiu-Ki’s DroidCon NYC write up! We don’t in general advocate audience members getting on stage and seizing the microphone, but as a keynote speaker Corey had more power than most in the audience, and that advice has the potential to be extremely harmful [tweet it]."
  5. This description paints me as a power-hungry ("as a keynote speaker Corey had more power than most in the audience") Kanye ("jumped"/"stormed" on stage, "seiz[ed] the microphone") that interrupted everyone to "womansplain." It also describes my "advice" as potentially "extremely harmful."
  6. Note: I spoke with Cate later and the wording was a little unclear. Chiu-Ki and Cate's intention was to describe the advice from the men to go to HR as potentially dangerous, not my example of speaking up as being dangerous.
  7. So happy there is a diversity panel at #DroidconNYC. Nice to see this being discussed in the Android community. http://t.co/SLHkRHDqDK
    So happy there is a diversity panel at #DroidconNYC. Nice to see this being discussed in the Android community. pic.twitter.com/SLHkRHDqDK
  8. It's important how we describe women, especially when they are being brave and leading, speaking out for the silenced. If we use words with negative connotations it detracts from the act and paints the receiver in a bad light. Here's some resources if you wanted to start thinking about how languages affect's women's careers:
  9. Let's unpack this problematic description. Despite it definitely painting me in a very negative (sexist) light, they got a lot of facts wrong (despite Chiu-Ki being a panelist).
  10. First, the diversity panel wasn't a normal panel. It was an open forum for people to talk about what they are working on and get advice from the expert panel. Several people came on stage to ask questions and talk about their initiatives.
  11. @corey_latislaw @techspeakdigest also wanted to point out that the moderator actively asked for audience participation on this panel
  12. Eventually someone came on stage and essentially asked "how do I deal with a misogynist boss?" It was obvious that she was still affected by what happened (about a year later) as her voice was a little shaky.
  13. Christina Morillo started to say that you basically should move on. She didn't get a lot of words before the men took over. The three males on the panel all echoed each other and said go to HR. They said it was essential to get the conversation going so that hearts and minds can be changed. In theory this sounds great, but it is not practical advice for women in the tech industry.
  14. I was sitting next to two friends and expressed my concern about this dangerous advice. I had a lot of trepidation about getting involved, but they both encouraged me to speak up. I raised my hand to add to the conversation. The moderator called on me to speak up and I walked toward the stage to share my thoughts.
  15. I used my own voice and spoke on the side of the stage. Soon after the moderator brought over the microphone so that others would have an easier time hearing me.
  16. I started with something along the lines of the three men on the panel are telling us (the womens) to do something that is dangerous for our careers. I shared that I generally wait until it's too much to take and then move on to a new organization. There's really not much you can do without hurting your own reputation and mental health.
  17. This action photo looks pretty dramatic, but I'm pretty sure I was pointing to a lady who was empowered to add her voice after I spoke up. (Note: You can see the moderator coming over to give me the mic 'cause I wasn't loud enough for the rest of the audience to hear -- and I'm not on the stage).
  18. The women in the audience rushed over after the panel was done to thank me for speaking up. They were privately fuming, but felt trapped (much like Chiu-Ki reported feeling in her blog post) by the oft repeated bad advice to consult with HR.
  19. @corey_latislaw @techspeakdigest I found it particularly joyous to see many women step up. Its hard to do in a public forum but they rocked!
  20. The response was positive from the panelists. It was a learning experience for the male panelists and they handled it really well. I was impressed with their wilinngness to listen and see our side of the issue. We had a great conversation after the panel. I made an impact that day that would not have happened if I had stayed quiet.
  21. I sat on a diversity panel at #DroidconNYC just now and was reminded—in realtime—how incredibly important it is for men to be feminists.
  22. I tweeted at and spoke privately with Cate and Chiu-Ki after the fact. They encouraged me to share the whole story -- so here we are!
  23. .@techspeakdigest It was a panel/conversation hybrid format. I raised my hand like a good little girl and spoke when called on.
  24. To recap: I didn't storm the stage, there was no grabbing of mics. I was invited to participate after indicating that I had something to add. I don't advocate interrupting a panel. I do encourage you to bring your concerns and questions up in the normal Q&A section most panels provide.
  25. I don't regret speaking up. It's hard, but people appreciate it. It can change hearts and minds. But you have to be ready to be misunderstood and mislabeled -- even sometimes by allies and friends.