am I, a man, invited to such things?

We need men to step up and show their support as champions of change. We can’t do this without you.

Charles T. Gray
8-25-2018

I’m frequently asked this, and particularly appreciate David asking it in a public forum, where I was able to bring in other commentators to see what their perspectives were.

Am I, a man, invited to such things?

— David Butler (@DavidKButlerUoA) August 24, 2018

Recently we’ve seen a proliferation of women and diversity in tech advocacy groups. While there is much to celebrate, it is entirely understandable that some people, especially men, feel confused as to how engage with these new organisations and events.

A significant part of why organisations such as R-Ladies and Code Like a Girl exist is to change common assumptions about women and minorities.

I believe we’re all capable of unconcious bias, and that sexism, racism, and discrimination are all behaviours we can and do unwittingly perpetuate. We all need to practice self-awareness and guard against our own foibles. I disagree with labelling people as sexist or racist, and think the emphasis should be on behaviours.

We need men, as champions of change, to engage with this process, so that we all change our assumptions and break down stereotypes.

some practical tips

is it a restricted event?

Is this event restricted in any way - such as a women’s only event? Check the event page.

Another excellent point, observed by R-Lady Daniela, is to have a look at the code of conduct for the event.

There is usually a Code of Conduct for the events with all the details, that you should check beforehand. But more often than not everybody is welcome if they agree with the CoC!

— Daniela Vázquez (@d4tagirl) August 25, 2018

I agree with Daniela, almost every event I’ve been to has been open to all; and it is now commmonplace to have a code of conduct, so you can check in any caes.

I encourage people of all genders to come out and support women and minority presenters. We don’t see and hear enough from these groups. You can be actively participating by listening and supporting1.

hang back

These events are a safe place for women to come forward and speak together and be heard.

When I present at these events, I get surrounded by women who have shared experiences of isolation and bullying.

If you’re speaking to women about their experiences, about science, about why they are there, or what they liked best - great! If you’re considering monopolising the presenters’ time when there’s a line of women waiting to talk, maybe don’t do that.

Some key points:
- Men asked 3.6 questions for every 1 questions asked by women.
- Women asked no questions in 69.2 % of the talks.#AFS148 pic.twitter.com/jmTISJTt97

— Danielle Quinn (@daniellequinn88) August 25, 2018

learn from others

The stories I hear at these events are powerful and moving; men can hear them to, by coming along and engaging.

It’s really hard to understand the problems unless you hear women and minorities tell their stories in their own words.

in conclusion

These are a few thoughts I threw together because I’m asked this question a lot. I’d be really interested in others’ thoughts, especially rstats men who are unsure of how to advocate for women, and from women who, like me, are asked about this a lot.

I think the main thing is to be mindful and respectful of why these events exist in the first place.


  1. Feel free to hit me up for a quick clapping lesson. As a one-time musician, I know very best technique for putting your hands together to show a presenter how great they were. (It’s mostly about cupped rather than flat hands.)

Citation

For attribution, please cite this work as

Gray (2018, Aug. 25). measured.: am I, a man, invited to such things?. Retrieved from https://fervent-hypatia-7b7343.netlify.com/posts/2018-11-12-am-i-a-man-invited-to-such-things/

BibTeX citation

@misc{gray2018am,
  author = {Gray, Charles T.},
  title = {measured.: am I, a man, invited to such things?},
  url = {https://fervent-hypatia-7b7343.netlify.com/posts/2018-11-12-am-i-a-man-invited-to-such-things/},
  year = {2018}
}