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Collaborative Web Development by Adam D. Scott

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Chapter 5. Treating Other Developers with Respect

This will be the shortest chapter of the series, but is likely the most important. It is critical that we treat our colleagues with respect. The primary way we do this is by working to create an inclusive and safe environment for everyone regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, or cultural background. Whether it is online, at work, at a meetup, or attending a conference, be kind and respectful to those around you. In this chapter, we’ll briefly touch upon unconscious bias and creating inclusive environments.

Unconscious Bias

In the 1970s the typical orchestra was comprised of of over 90% male musicians. Today orchestras are more likely made up of one-third female musicians, with the likelihood that a woman musician will be selected increasing by 30-60%. What changed to spur this increase in female classical musicians? It was the introduction of blind auditions. Today’s selection process has musicians audition without being seen by the judging committee. Early on, this was proven to require further modification as women began removing their shoes, so that judges would not hear the tell-tale sound the shoes made when the musician approached the chair. This is an example of unconscious bias. The judges largely assumed, presumably without intention or awareness of their preference, that men were better musicians. When the chance for this bias was removed, more women were selected.

Unconscious biases are stereotypes that ...

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