On boycotting tech events to promote diversity

Rebecca J. Rosen’s well-intended editorial in The Atlantic suggests that the right course of action to promote gender diversity at tech conferences is to simply boycott the ones that feature all-male speaker lists. The editorial has been bouncing around the blogosphere since it was posted last week, and Rosen’s comments are a response to a larger debate about gender diversity that’s been bouncing around the tech industry for some time.

Brittany Tarvin, in an editorial on her own Tumblr blog, thinks this is the wrong approach and offers more constructive suggestions, like mentoring a minority in your own personal network to speak on topics they’re knowledgeable and passionate about, and advocate for them to be part of the speaker list at conferences you attend or are interesting in.

Tarvin’s point, if I’ve interpreted it correctly, is that in order to affect change, sometimes it’s more important to act positively than it is to just say no.

If the topic interests you, make sure to read both posts and feel free to share your thoughts with us.