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Re: diversity

Hi Bart

On 2021/03/23 11:11, Bart Martens wrote:
> A question about diversity. We all know that some profiles are
> underrepresented: gender, etnic group, disability, age, sexual preference,
> education degree, rich/poor, spoken & written languages...
> 1/ One way of addressing this, is actively BENEFIT the underrepresented
> profiles. Positive discriminiation is needed, at least to get over an initial
> resistance. Put diversity in the spotlights, to speed up improvement.

I'm not a fan of that approach, that means implementing something like
affirmative action and implementing quotas of some kind and only
accepting members of the types we're shot on quota on. I believe that
with the right kind of promotion we can boost our numbers without any
form of positive discrimination. Also, I'd be really sad to reject
anyone's contributions for something they have absolutely no control
over. I'm really looking forward to when we can have in-real-life events
again, I think that's a crucial part of the puzzle to bring in a more
diverse mix of people in to Debian.

> 2/ Another way is active NEUTRALITY treating everyone alike. No discrimination,
> positive nor negative. Make room for diversity to evolve. Diversity
> matters, although in the shadow of free software.

That sounds close to what we have now, although we do have some outreach
and diversity funding that helps a little to give more women and other
minorities in Debian more exposure to the project. I think that this is
an area where we can invest in more.

> 3/ ... ?
> Now the QUESTION ---> What is your view on this? Your preferred approach? What
> is the priority of diversity? Practical action points, how to measure progress?

There are probably 100s of ways in which we could be more diverse, but I
think in terms of new members we should try to attract, we should put
some focus towards women and non-white people. In my very first platform
I mentioned that I wanted to initiate some kind of initiative where any
women anywhere could organise a Debian meetup in their area and have
some funding available for it (it could be as simple as a coffee once
per week in a nice coffee shop). I didn't persue that for my last term
because covid seemed to be quite a blocker.

For bringing in more diverse people from all over the world, I think
further investment into local teams is the way to go. We talked about
this at DC20 and there were some follow-up meetings, I'm trying to
encourage the local groups effort to prepare for when covid is over and
start organising for that (things like making swag that we can
distribute, posters, etc), but it seems like because it's such a delayed
gratification, the motivation for that is currently low. MiniDebConfs
are also great and last year was going to be a record year for that, I
also believe that we should try to preserve that momentum as everything
open up again.

So in short, the two most solid ideas that I have in mind is to put
together some framework/policy to encourage minorities in Debian to meet
up (especially women), and also to keep pushing for more local team
activities and events that could attract more locals from around the world.

Did you perhaps have any ideas in mind too?


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