FAQ

General

Diversity issues in technology are not limited to gender, age, ethnicity, education level, etc. Why not address all these issues at the same time?
We recognize and agree that challenges with diversity are not exclusive to gender. The women who started this initiative met around a discussion on gender inequalities, fueled by their personal experiences and daily life. The manifesto took that direction. The inclusion of all forms of diversity and all contexts for inequality were discussed and considered. The selection of a niche problem in a niche context was made to increase chances of impact with a limited amount of resources. We support fights for equality from all types of diversity and we hope this manifesto will echo their voices.
The feminist fight is so old fashioned!
We would like this to be true, unfortunately it’s not! Even if women have been increasing their presence on the job market and in society, the glass ceiling still exists. In 2017, there are very few women sitting on boards of directors, 15.9%. Women in Quebec earn 72% of what their male counterparts do and earn lower salaries in all employment sectors. Women account for 78% of domestic violence victims and 97.4% of sexual assaults.
I wanted the best person for my panel but unfortunately it’s not a woman.
The goal of parity is to widen your network and remind you to think about diversifying your panel. Quebec has a large pool of women (36,670) in technology. The resolution of parity will make you search beyond the candidates that naturally come to your mind. We’ve put up a list of available experts to help you take the first step. We are confident that you’ll be able to select one for her skills.
I have never been a victim of sexism, so I'm not interested in signing this manifesto.
Maybe you haven’t been victim of sexism but have you ever explored the topic with other people around you? There is no doubt that many women have suffered discrimination because of their gender. To better understand how discrimination occurs, we invite you to read our WHY [Hyperlink] section. You’ll find scientific articles that document gender inequality and its consequences. Learn how to recognize certain behaviors, words and other forms of sexism that are sometimes minimized and that could gravitate around your entourage or even around yourself. Despite everything, the image of strong women often hides several experiences of proven sexism. Sign for her/them!
I study/work in technology and I have a lot of nice male colleagues. There is no problem!
Good! We are exposing a problem that has been witnessed repeatedly in the industry, but there are also many healthy workspaces from which we can inspire ourselves. However, the problem is widespread enough for us to launch this Manifesto. With our tools section, we offer the possibility of taking a step back from your daily life and to measure objectively the existence/inexistence of a problem. You may be able to keep affirming with supporting data.
Technology is the only industry men have left!
Did you know that women are pioneers in the IT field? From Ada Lovelace in the early 19th century to Joëlle Pineau in 2018, Margaret Hamilton and Grace Hopper, women have always contributed to technological breakthroughs. As mentioned above, thousands of women are already working in that field. Women have always belonged to the world of technology.
I am a woman and I don’t want to be chosen for my gender, but for my skills.
In a market that is so competitive, if someone reaches out to you, it is first and foremost because of your skills. No event organizer would take the risk of inviting an uninteresting person for his·her event, he·she would only choose the best. Trust yourself, you’re not a statistic, you are an expert. Embrace it! You are contributing to your own success as much as other women’s.
I tried to reach parity on my panel, but none of the women I asked to present said yes.
It sometimes requires a different approach to convince a woman to be on a panel, and like all types of changes, it might take you some efforts to do it at first. Have you asked these women why they refused? Try, for example, positive reinforcement and taking into account work-life balance challenges. For more insights on how to attract women in tech events, see this article from Startupfest.
Why do women only events exist?
Women only events are safe spaces. “In feminist, queer, and civil rights movements an understanding of safe space has developed that is associated with keeping marginalized groups free from violence and harassment.” (Safe Space: Towards a Reconceptualization, University of Wisconsin–Madison). “This type of safe space also encourages a certain license to speak and act freely [and] form collective strength” (Kenney 2001:24). Reasons for women to enter these spaces are broad and personal, but here are some examples of what they could be seeking shelter from: sexism, mansplaining or harassment. For further reading on the topic, we suggest “Safe Space: Towards a Reconceptualization, University of Wisconsin–Madison”, an article that explores the essence of the term and its paradoxes.
If it's a women's problem, what's the role for men?
Because of their outweighing proportion in technology, men have an important role to reach parity. In fact, their support is essential. Moreover, men, women and all people who do not identify directly with these genders have an equal role in the fight against inequalities, whether or not they are targeted as objects of inclusion. This manifesto invites everyone to join the movement and be part of the gender parity solution.
Why should a panel seek parity if there are only 20% women in the industry?
It's like the chicken or the egg dilemma. Without reducing the small proportion of women in technology to this only variable, it is interesting to question what is symptomatic of what. There are many reasons to want this ratio to change and we are betting that parity on panels and in conferences WILL have an impact on the amount of women in technology. It is also a way for influencers and organizers of the community to demonstrate their commitment to parity in the industry.
What difference does it make to sign the manifesto?
It changes everything! Signing is, above everything else, to be aware of the problem and chose to be part of the solution. Each signature has the power to convince a woman to accept to be a panelist, to convince an event organizer to consider women on their list of panelists, to tickle the status quo in conversations with friends or colleagues with documented and informed arguments. To sign the manifesto is a concrete action to pursue change.
Gender is much broader than the man-woman duality. Why is this manifesto limiting itself to that definition?
Indeed, gender definition is vast! There are numerous differences between sex and gender. Sex refers to the anatomy, the reproductive system and secondary sexual characters. Gender refers to social roles based on the person’s sex (the gender role) or to the personal identification of one’s own gender based on an internal perception (gender identity). In some cases, sex assigned at birth and gender don’t align and the person can be transgender, non-binary or of gender nonconformity. This manifesto picked a very precise battle because of lack of resources but it is an open initiative to anyone identifying to equity and representativeness of genders. We hope that despite its limitations, this manifesto will inspire the queer community. <3
If I am invited to an event which lacks parity, what should I do?
Each of us can choose how to change the status quo. Despite our differences we recognize all valid. Above all, we suggest taking action. Thus, for each of us, acting implies a different level of commitment. See below, for example, the complementary views of two of the manifesto's founding team:

First point of view: "When I am invited as an expert or panelist to a non-parity panel, first I mention it to the organization, explaining why parity is important. Then I propose women's names to balance the event. If no woman is added, I decline the invitation. If a woman is added but the panel is still mostly unequal (1 woman for 4 men for example), I also decline the invitation. In both cases, I make sure the reasons are understood and I always offer solutions."

Second point of view: "When I am invited to an event as a speaker on a non-parity panel, I explain to the organizers why it is important to make an effort to achieve parity in their panels and I help them find and improve their process to achieve this goal. I still accept to participate in the panel even if there is no parity because I know how difficult it can be to find women who are interested and available for the events in the 20% of women in technology. I am convinced that a woman on a panel is better than none. It is important to participate and be visible. Our experience is important and helps to advance the cause."