Etsy Icon>

Code as Craft

Recommended Reading for Allies main image

Recommended Reading for Allies


Etsy believes in the power of diversity. We believe that having diverse perspectives will help us make better decisions and build better products. We also know that it’s not enough to just recruit diverse talent: we’ve got to retain it!

A key to retaining diverse talent is fostering a supportive work environment. There are a lot of major organizational changes that can help (flexible work arrangements, equal pay, and opportunities for growth and leadership to name a few), but what can you—the individual—really do to help?

Clippy the Ally

It sounds like you want to be an ally! An ally is a person in a position of privilege who offers to share the power, access, and authority that come with that privilege with members of a non-privileged group.

Diversity is intersectional, not limited to gender, race, or any other single axis of identity. Great news: Allyship is intersectional as well! If you’re a man, you can serve as an ally to women. If you’re white, you can serve as an ally to people of color. If you can see, you can serve as an ally to people with vision loss. Anyone can use their privilege to create opportunities for people more marginalized than themselves.

On August 11 in Dublin, Etsy software engineers Toria Gibbs and Ian Malpass will be running a workshop on being an effective male ally to people who identify as women and other underrepresented populations in tech.

One important strategy for being an effective ally is self-education. Women are frequently expected to teach introductory feminism and entertain discussions on “being a woman in tech” with anyone who asks. It’s a great burden to shoulder and frankly a waste of their time. You wouldn’t ask Rasmus to teach you how to write a Hello World program in PHP, right? No! You would go out and find the articles, tutorials, and forum threads that already exist for beginners.

With that, we introduce our list of recommended reading for allies.

Introductory feminism

Why do we need feminism? Analogies on privilege

On allyship

Studies, reports

Opinion pieces, personal experiences

Blogs, magazines

Other fun stuff

  While this list is not exhaustive, it should be more than enough to get you started on your journey. Happy learning! If you’re interested in hosting your own event to promote male allyship, we recommend checking out NCWIT’s Male Allies and Advocates Toolkit or Ada Initiative’s Ally Skills Workshop.

You can read more about Etsy’s diversity in our latest annual Diversity and Equality Progress Report. Update 08/12/2016: Slides from Toria and Ian's presentation are now available on Speaker Deck!