Seminars

NO.194 Software Developer Diversity and Inclusion Workshop

Shonan Village Center

June 26 - 29, 2023 (Check-in: June 25, 2023 )

Organizers

  • Denae Ford
    • Microsoft Research, USA
  • Emerson Murphy-Hill
    • Google, USA
  • Magaret-Anne Storey
    • University of Victoria, Canada
  • Rafael Prikladnicki
    • Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Yi Wang
    • Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, China

Overview

Description of meeting

Software systems are responsible for all aspects of modern life. They help humans make critical short-term and long-term societal and personal decisions, and yet the diversity and values of the people designing software systems do not remotely represent the diversity and values of people on our planet. According to Stack Overflow’s 2020 survey of more than 65,000 developers, 91.7 percent identify as male and 70.7 percent as white or of European descent. Research indicates that racially diverse groups make better decisions, open source projects with diverse contributors are more productive, developer communities with different physical abilities can be more welcoming to novices, and that working on gender diverse teams improves attitudes towards women. This is only a short list of some of the impact that being intentional about the backgrounds of software developers can produce.

There is a significant amount of work to be done to create inclusive environments that can lead to a more diverse community building the software that is the foundation for our digital society. And this is the main goal of this workshop. We aim to discuss developer diversity and inclusion challenges faced by industry today. Our intent is to understand these challenges more clearly, to propose concrete goals to address them, and to gather recommendations as well as best practices to share with practitioners. We want to drive essential and rigorous research towards understanding barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion while also discovering and promoting best practices that will increase diversity. We also aim to build a community of researchers and practitioners that share a passion to improve software developer diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Meeting format, expected outcomes and impact

The format will be consistent with prior years: several talks, with at least half of the officially sanctioned time dedicated to small group breakout sessions. Typically we have 2-3 high profile keynote speakers often outside of our immediate research community, to increase attendance and inspire discussion. The talks will address the current state of the art on Software Developer Diversity and Inclusion reviewing the main challenges and opportunities for improving diversity. In the breakout sessions we will discuss each of the challenges and opportunities in depth and propose concrete actions.

This will be the fourth annual meeting of this series. In 2019, this workshop was held in San Francisco (27 attendees). In both 2020 (70 attendees) and 2021 (56 attendees), it was held virtually, due to the global pandemic. Despite the recent increase in attendees, we anticipate that the 35 person cap on attendees will be sufficient, as many virtual attendees will likely find the cost to travel prohibitive. That being said, we would like to follow a hybrid model, where virtual attendees can attend part of the workshop as well. While we will have some early and late sessions to enable some virtual participation, the primary focus will be in providing an immersive in-person experience.

Outcomes from prior iterations of this workshop include the formation of a Linux Foundation project of the same name and a special issue of IEEE Software on the topic. We expect outcomes from this workshop to be both concrete actions to the challenges identified and future directions and plans for collaborative and rigorous research.