Official Announcement Of DC Web Women Policy Regarding Men As Members 4/16/13
As President of DC Web Women (DCWW), I am announcing a major organizational policy change. Some time ago, the DCWW Steering Committee and Executive Board members voted that DCWW would allow men as DC Web Women members.
We determined that allowing men to join DCWW would not conflict with our mission of promoting, supporting, and advocating for women in technology. In fact, we want to encourage men who believe in our mission to feel comfortable participating in and contributing to the organization.
We based our decision on these factors:
- By prohibiting men, we reduce our opportunities for corporate sponsorship.
Many corporations have very strict non-discrimination polices regarding corporate grants and sponsorships. Recently, anti-LGBTQ policies cost the Boy Scouts two major corporate sponsors. In order for DCWW to be attractive to Fortune 500 companies for sponsorship, we must remove the “no men” policy from the organization.
- We cannot ask men to contribute money, come to our events, speak at our events, and promote our mission, and tell them they cannot be members.
- As we transition from a “Women’s Club” environment to a full-fledged women’s professional organization, we must be inclusive. For instance, private social clubs can discriminate, but professional organizations can not.
- We want to increase exposure of the women’s tech community to men and encourage dialogue.
I subscribe to a few women’s group lists and forums. The issue of male-dominated panels and conferences comes up ALL THE TIME. The lack of women keynotes and panelists is still a major problem.
While opening up DCWW to men will not immediately erase this problem, I hope having men openly participate in the organization will not only educate them on issues of women in tech, it will also expose them to a vibrant community of women technologists. So the excuse of “I don’t know where to find talented women in tech” (at least in the DC-area anyway) will hopefully, go away.
- To be successful in our mission to “…support and advocate for women and girls in technology…” we will need the support of men. Many of these men are fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles or nephews of girls and women – these women are interested in or actively involved in tech and the internet-related professions. We do not want to limit how these men contribute to our mission.
This may concern some of you who feel that having men contribute on the DCWW list in particular will inhibit conversation from members who want to discuss issues such as gender discrimination in the workplace, gender-bias in tech and other gender-related topics.
While I cannot control how some of you may feel posting on a forum where men may be reading, I will say that the DCWW Tech List policy gives List Moderators discretion on determining whether a member is being especially uncivil on the list to another member. The instigator(s) of the incivility will be contacted by the List Moderator and given a warning. If the problem continues, then a more stern reprimand will follow.
This policy is enforced whether the instigator is a man or woman. So, I don’t think that there is much to fear; we have rules in place to handle such a situation.
As long as we remain a women-majority organization and have a majority women-run Steering Committee and Executive Board, our mission and dynamic as a women’s organization should not change.
If you have concerns about this policy change, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you feel that you no longer want to participate as a member of DCWW and would like to be removed from the list/organization, just email email@example.com to be removed.
Thank you for reading!