I was incredibly impressed to hear of the #libsforada campaign happening this week, with fund matching from several colleagues and tweeps, including Bess Sadler, Andromeda Yelton, Mark Matienzo, and Chris Bourg (did I miss anyone?). While the initial matching goal was quickly reached, I have no doubt the organization has more financial needs that the library community can help to meet.
What’s the ADA Initiative?
“The Ada Initiative supports women in open technology and culture through activities such as producing codes of conduct and anti-harassment policies, advocating for gender diversity, teaching ally skills, and hosting conferences for women in open tech/culture. Most of what we create is freely available, reusable, and modifiable under Creative Commons licenses.” —What We Do
Why is it important to me?
I’m by far in the vast majority of the demographics making up librarianship: white, female, adult. I’m also petite and rather conventionally attractive. Though I don’t always identify as a techie, it’s part of everything I do in my career and huge part of my professional service (says the Library and Information Technology Association Education Chair). And I’m pragmatic enough to believe that one of these days, something is going to happen at a conference that I’ll be attending that is going to be inappropriate and where I will need backup or need to offer it to others. This comes from hearing too many of the experiences of friends and professional colleagues. This comes from being gently but rather obviously protected a few times before something happened. A not-unreasonable fear of having to deal with unwanted sexual attention or blunt dismissal based on my gender is a deterrent when I consider how much I’d like to expand my repertoire as a public speaker.
For these reasons and a host of others, codes of conduct are important. And the work that the Ada Initiative does to support development of these policies, to advocate for people who are self-selecting out from fear, is essential. The Ada Initiative helped tremendously when the Code4Lib community was developing a code of conduct just in advance of the C4L national conference that I helped to organize in 2013. I would like to see their work continue. I would like to feel like I can walk into a conference without needing that pragmatism, and that others feel enthusiasm rather than trepidation.
For more information, the excellent writings of some friends: