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2. Women in Advanced Computing (WiAC): Recognizing and Overcoming Bias—Ways to Make Your Workplace More Successful and Welcoming
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Lincoln 3 Room
Leslie Hawthorn, Elasticsearch; Sheeri Cabral, Mozilla
Download the slides below or view them online.
In this workshop, we will explore some of the more common biases that appear today in the technology industry—and in our wider societal conversations. Participants will engage in activities that will leave them with concrete knowledge of how to handle situations that occur to them in everyday life.
We’re all good people, but we are also products of our environment and socialization. There are myriad ways in which we have been taught to not value those whose experience is not like ours, whose experience and background is different from our own, and whose physical characteristics are not like ours. While we would never think of ourselves as prejudiced, we nonetheless may engage in behaviors that reflect how these biases have become lodged in our thinking, often subconsciously.
So, what can we do to ensure that we are treating our colleagues, bosses, and acquaintances fairly? What are concrete steps we can take to ensure that we receive the same treatment from them? How can we level up personally and professionally?
After an initial presentation, we will ask participants to break into smaller groups for discussion on how these biases may present themselves in their day to day life. We will examine how we ourselves manifest bias and how bias operates in our work environments, with a specific eye to understanding how we participate in these structures of bias, however unknowingly. Our conversations may range from societal expectations of gender, race, and sexual orientation; through social class and education levels; to experience and family life differences.
The organizers also will present the basics of Negotiation Theory to the workshop participants. They will discuss how these tools can be useful both in our work to overcome our own biases and to influence conversations and decisions in the workplace, creating a platform of mutual respect, better understanding, and more productive dialogue and collaboration. The workshop will then segue into 1:1 role-playing exercises from the Harvard Negotiation Project to give participants an opportunity to practice these new modes of dialog, concluding with a report-back session about what these role playing exercises illustrated to each of us about our own biases.
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