Leslie Hawthorn

Civility, Empathy, and Women in Technology

Date: This event took place live on June 13 2014

Presented by: Leslie Hawthorn

Duration: Approximately 60 minutes.

Cost: Free

Questions? Please send email to


We've seen lengthy discussions about the position of women in technology for the past several months, to the point where Wired is covering debates about civility on the LKML. While it's been useful to raise awareness of issues within the open source and technical communities, I haven't seen anyone discussing why evaluating and checking one's privilege is actually good for the individual. In this talk, I will discuss why it's worth your while to understand your own innate privilege - or, as I like to think of it, 'stuff' you get that other people don't - and how doing so will make you more successful in your career and as a human being.

Amongst other matters, I'll discuss:

  • Understanding bias - what it is, why it is and why it is worth examining your biases
  • How to handle it when other people are "angry"
  • How to be a useful ally and why this makes your way much smoother
  • How to ask for more information without being an uneducated jerk
  • How to have more useful conversations with each person you meet

The purpose of this talk is to reexamine the topic through the lens of concrete things individuals can do to check their privilege - and to put it to work serving themselves and others.

About Leslie Hawthorn

An internationally known community manager, speaker and author, Leslie Hawthorn has spent the past decade creating, cultivating and enabling open source communities. She created the world's first initiative to involve pre-university students in open source software development, launched Google's #2 Developer Blog, received an O'Reilly Open Source Award in 2010 and gave a few great talks on many things open source.

In August 2013, she joined Elasticsearch as Community Manager, where she leads Developer Relations. She works from Elasticsearch's EU HQ in Amsterdam, The Netherlands - when not out and about gathering user praise and pain points. You can follow her adventures on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lhawthorn

You may also be interested in: