On Redesigning Your Dude Walls, Speaker Lineups, and Persona Names

Each week, we share five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

Photo of a wall of oil paintings of white men
Photo of a wall of oil paintings of white men
“DSC_0833” by kim(ber) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

1. Redesign your “dude walls”

As we learned in this NPR article, TV celebrity Rachel Maddow made a zinger of a comment when visiting a university to hand out a prize for a prominent female scientist. She was overheard saying, “What is up with the dude wall?”

2. Insist on diversity in speaker lineups

This week, tech conference phpCE was cancelled after being called out for their lack of speaker diversity. As announced on their web site, “The conference has been canceled and won’t be continued.” As an explanation, they cited three tweets. Two were from speakers who declined their invitations because of the lack of diversity. And one from another speaker who summed up the situation well:

3. Question the cost of employing workers with disabilities

In Corporate Diversity Efforts Often Leave Out an Important Group: People With Disabilities, we learned some interesting statistics:

  • Employers might assume that employing people with disabilities will be costly, but the median cost for providing substantial accommodations is about $500 per person.
  • The majority of the time, it costs nothing to provide accommodations.

4. Use gender-neutral names

Do you create user personas when designing products? Or write hypothetical scenarios for training material? When thinking of a name to use, you have a choice to make. One that reinforces the gender bias of the described person’s role, or one that’s gender neutral.

5. Talk about the quality and impact of someone’s work

As journalist Sherrell Dorsey shared in an interview with CNBC,

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Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.

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