24 Ways to #ChooseToChallenge Bias in Computing

The theme for International Women’s Day 2021, which took place on March 8, was #ChooseToChallenge. To celebrate, NCWIT shared 24 ways that individuals can take action to reduce barriers to women’s full and meaningful participation in computing. From K-12 education through college and the tech workplace, these tips and resources can help you recruit and retain women in computing programs and technical positions, while building an inclusive, equitable environment to support their success.

  1. Establish metrics to track progress toward diversifying internships, interviews, hires, and promotions. When diversity goals are part of employee evaluation, changes occur. // Top 10 Ways to Be a Male Advocate for Technical Women
  2. Do you notice members of a majority group dominating meetings and making it hard for others to speak? Solicit the opinions of quieter employees during or after meetings to ensure that every voice is heard. // Male Allies and Advocates:* Helping Create Inclusive & Highly Productive Technology Workplaces  
  3. One way to ensure that the demographics of your school’s computing programs are representative of the student body as a whole is to make one or more computing classes required. // Guide to Inclusive Computer Science Education: How Educators Can Encourage and Engage All Students in Computer Science
  4. Develop an anti-harassment policy and guidelines for appropriate behavior to ensure that your program, workplace, or conference is a safe and inclusive space for everyone. Be sure to publicize your code of conduct. // 13 Tips to Make Technical Conferences More Inclusive
  5. Want to make a difference? Seek out information about the ways bias, microinequities, and stereotype threat affect the experiences of underrepresented employees in the tech field and in your specific workplace. // Top 10 Ways to be an Effective Sponsor 
  6. Teaching online? You can still bring diverse role models from a variety of STEM fields into your classroom with this virtual décor collection. // Virtual Classroom Décor for Computer Science and Tech Educators 
  7. Assess your school’s computing program to determine whether structural barriers might be preventing students with disabilities from participating. Are classrooms and devices accessible? // Guide to Inclusive Computer Science Education: How Educators Can Encourage and Engage All Students in Computer Science
  8. “What do you mean by that exactly?” If you hear biased or stereotyping language at work, asking the speaker for clarification can prompt reflection and adjustment. // Male Allies and Advocates:* Helping Create Inclusive & Highly Productive Technology Workplaces
  9. Benefits of intervening when you witness bias or stereotyping include reducing the harm experienced, reducing future bias, promoting equity, and shifting norms. // Interrupting Bias in Industry Settings 
  10. Are you unsure if something you heard is biased? Do you hesitate to bring up diversity issues because you don’t want to get the language wrong? These short videos can help you demystify the evolving terms used for different identities. // Learning About Intersectionality: Videos That Spark Discussion 
  11. Holding a tech conference, hackathon, or other event? Offer scholarships or reduced conference registration options to any demographic group that is underrepresented in your audience. // 13 Tips to Make Technical Conferences More Inclusive
  12. Do your students have opportunities to interact with role models who look like them? Help students see themselves in computing by inviting diverse educators and tech professionals to visit your classes or clubs. // Guide to Inclusive Computer Science Education: How Educators Can Encourage and Engage All Students in Computer Science
  13. If you are a manager, reflect on your task assignment patterns. Do you tend to assign tasks with more visibility or responsibility to certain people or groups? // Male Allies and Advocates:* Helping Create Inclusive & Highly Productive Technology Workplaces
  14. Sponsors can make a difference in anyone’s career, but research shows that they can be especially important for women and other employees who are a minority in a majority-group environment. // Top 10 Ways to be an Effective Sponsor
  15. It can be easier to intervene in bias or discrimination when you’ve practiced what to say in advance. Use this guide to set up a practice session with your colleagues. // Interrupting Bias in Industry Settings
  16. Support students in taking risks by building community within the learning space. Peer-to-peer learning and small-group work can help all students build relationships and more comfortably share ideas. // Guide to Inclusive Computer Science Education: How Educators Can Encourage and Engage All Students in Computer Science
  17. Relying on word of mouth for recruiting efforts tends to reproduce the status quo, since people are likely to recommend others who are much like themselves. Actively expand your network to find more diverse candidates. // Male Allies and Advocates:* Helping Create Inclusive & Highly Productive Technology Workplaces
  18. When men bring up gender equity and other diversity issues, they can make it less “risky” for others to speak up. // Top 10 Ways to Be a Male Advocate for Technical Women
  19. The decor in a space sends a strong signal about who is welcome there. Make sure your classrooms are decorated with posters and other visual cues that make students from all backgrounds feel like they belong. // Guide to Inclusive Computer Science Education: How Educators Can Encourage and Engage All Students in Computer Science
  20. Make a conscious effort to increase the visibility of technical women on your team by recommending them as speakers for strategic events and meetings. // 10 Actionable Ways to Actually Increase Diversity in Tech 
  21. Arrange learning spaces for computing classes in ways that promote collaboration and hands-on activities, and consider having multiple types of spaces in your classroom. // Guide to Inclusive Computer Science Education: How Educators Can Encourage and Engage All Students in Computer Science
  22. One key way majority group members can be allies is to talk to other majority group members about inequity in the tech world and raise awareness about the structural barriers that exist. // Top 10 Ways to Be a Male Advocate for Technical Women
  23. When we have many perspectives working to solve problems, we get many kinds of solutions. Focus teaching and encouragement on solving problems, rather than finding a single right answer. // Guide to Inclusive Computer Science Education: How Educators Can Encourage and Engage All Students in Computer Science
  24. Managers and others in positions of authority have an important role to play in setting the tone for a workplace by modeling practices that increase equity, and by consistently challenging bias in action. // Top 10 Ways to Be a Male Advocate for Technical Women