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How Remote Work Can Foster a More Inclusive Environment for Transgender Developers

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In this position paper, we claim that remote work offers a mechanism of control for identity disclosure and empowerment of software developers from marginalized communities. By talking to several transgender software developers we identified three themes that resonate across the trans experience and intersect with the advantages to working in software development remotely: identity disclosure, high-impact technical work and the autonomy to disengage and re-engage. Based on these themes we identify several open questions that the research community should address.

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How Remote Work Can Foster a More Inclusive Environment for Transgender Developers

  1. 1. Denae Ford, Reed Milewicz, Alexander Serebrenik@DenaeFordRobin How Remote Work Can Foster a More Inclusive Environment for Transgender Developers y
  2. 2. [Groskopf, 2017] [Stack Overflow 2018 Developer Survey]
  3. 3. [Groskopf, 2017] [Stack Overflow 2018 Developer Survey] Creative space for independent work
  4. 4. [Groskopf, 2017] [Stack Overflow 2018 Developer Survey] Fosters autonomy Creative space for independent work
  5. 5. [Groskopf, 2017] [Stack Overflow 2018 Developer Survey]
  6. 6. [Groskopf, 2017] [Stack Overflow 2018 Developer Survey] More software developers are working remotely
  7. 7. We claim that… 4 Remote work offers a mechanism of control for identity disclosure and empowerment of software developers from marginalized communities.
  8. 8. Transgender refers to… 5 “people who move away from the gender they were assigned at birth, people who cross over (trans-) the boundaries constructed by their culture to define and contain that gender” [Stryker, 2008]
  9. 9. Transgender refers to… 5 “people who move away from the gender they were assigned at birth, people who cross over (trans-) the boundaries constructed by their culture to define and contain that gender” [Stryker, 2008]
  10. 10. Why Trans Devs? 6 [Vasilescu, 2015] [Ford, 2016][Meerwijk, 2017] [Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 2018]
  11. 11. Why Trans Devs? 6 Previously “not enough data” to analyze beyond binary gender [Vasilescu, 2015] [Ford, 2016][Meerwijk, 2017] [Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 2018]
  12. 12. Why Trans Devs? 6 .7% of SE= 2 x the US population of trans people Previously “not enough data” to analyze beyond binary gender [Vasilescu, 2015] [Ford, 2016][Meerwijk, 2017] [Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 2018]
  13. 13. Why Trans Devs? 6 This narrative is missing .7% of SE= 2 x the US population of trans people Previously “not enough data” to analyze beyond binary gender [Vasilescu, 2015] [Ford, 2016][Meerwijk, 2017] [Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 2018]
  14. 14. Approach 7
  15. 15. Approach 7 Semi-Structured Interviews
  16. 16. Approach 7 Semi-Structured Interviews Interview Topics Professional Identity Management Platform specific barriers Online safety Perceptions of inclusion 3 Trans Software Engineers
  17. 17. Approach 7 Semi-Structured Interviews Interview Topics Professional Identity Management Platform specific barriers Online safety Perceptions of inclusion 3 Trans Software Engineers Reviewed Recordings
  18. 18. Approach 7 Semi-Structured Interviews Interview Topics Professional Identity Management Platform specific barriers Online safety Perceptions of inclusion 3 Trans Software Engineers Reviewed Recordings Compared Themes
  19. 19. Preliminary Findings 8
  20. 20. Identity Disclosure 9 “Stack Overflow has constrained expressions of identity. It’s up to you what content you want to fill in. GitHub for a while it was required you expose your email address to the rest of the world.”
  21. 21. Identity Disclosure 9 “Stack Overflow has constrained expressions of identity. It’s up to you what content you want to fill in. GitHub for a while it was required you expose your email address to the rest of the world.” The desire to be seen as presented
  22. 22. Identity Disclosure 10 “The obvious drawback of not being passable is that you become an instant target. So passability is not only an identity goal, its also a mean of self- preservation.” [Petrzuzalek, 2018]
  23. 23. Economically Stable Work 11 [www.bountysource.com]
  24. 24. Economically Stable Work 12 www.bountysource.com “You cannot tell from my technical profiles that Im transgender. I don’t make a big deal that in professional context. It’s just not relevant.”
  25. 25. Economically Stable Work 12 www.bountysource.com “You cannot tell from my technical profiles that Im transgender. I don’t make a big deal that in professional context. It’s just not relevant.” Distance technical merits from personal identity
  26. 26. Economically Stable Work 13 www.bountysource.com “Technology has totally leveled the playing field for someone like me. I can get on the internet and watch tutorials. I have the drive to spend five hours a day to teach myself a skill.” [Rowley, 2015]
  27. 27. Autonomy to Disengage or Re-engage 14 “When [organizations] say [they] have safe space and don’t take the steps to truly make the space safe…You have now encouraged these people to be vulnerable where their safety is compromised. It’s a very dangerous trend.”
  28. 28. 15 “When [organizations] say [they] have safe space and don’t take the steps to truly make the space safe. You have now encouraged these people to be vulnerable where their safety is compromised. It’s a very dangerous trend.” Autonomy to Disengage or Re-engage [transhack.org]
  29. 29. Autonomy to Disengage or Re-engage 16 “The Internet, with all its problems and all its flaws, has reminded me that I do have a voice. Without it, I know I’d continue suffering in silence. More than that, it’s brought me the single most invaluable resource for dealing with these problems: my friends. Because of them, I don’t have to deal with these things alone.” [Lachenal, 2014]
  30. 30. Discussion + Future Work 17
  31. 31. Modeling the Gender Spectrum Currently missing the nuance dialogue of marginalized communities 18
  32. 32. Modeling the Gender Spectrum Currently missing the nuance dialogue of marginalized communities 18 Equity-forward design process
  33. 33. Modeling the Gender Spectrum Currently missing the nuance dialogue of marginalized communities 18 We need conceptual models to understand differences within the idea of marginalized groups Equity-forward design process
  34. 34. Understanding Depth in Diversity of Contributions 19 Empirical studies can reveal dimensions in every-day software practices [Filippova, 2017] [Choi, 2015]
  35. 35. Understanding Depth in Diversity of Contributions 19 Empirical studies can reveal dimensions in every-day software practices Brainstorming [Filippova, 2017] [Choi, 2015]
  36. 36. Understanding Depth in Diversity of Contributions 19 Empirical studies can reveal dimensions in every-day software practices Brainstorming Paired-Programming [Filippova, 2017] [Choi, 2015]
  37. 37. Understanding Depth in Diversity of Contributions 19 Empirical studies can reveal dimensions in every-day software practices Brainstorming Paired-Programming Dissemination of Code [Filippova, 2017] [Choi, 2015]
  38. 38. Building Inclusive Socio-technical Communities Social media offers transition machinery. 20 [Haimson, 2018]
  39. 39. Building Inclusive Socio-technical Communities Social media offers transition machinery. 20 What does that look like in the professional dev community? [Haimson, 2018]
  40. 40. Building Inclusive Socio-technical Communities Social media offers transition machinery. 20 What does that look like in the professional dev community? [Haimson, 2018]
  41. 41. @DenaeFordRobin Summary The interplay of gender identity and remote work technologies offer transgender developers more control over workplace interactions. The technology software engineers develop and use can empower and encourage the participation of marginalized communities. Software Engineering researchers and practitioners should consider equity-forward design. 21
  42. 42. @DenaeFordRobin Thank You! The interplay of gender identity and remote work technologies offer transgender developers more control over workplace interactions. The technology software engineers develop and use can empower and encourage the participation of marginalized communities. Software Engineering researchers and practitioners should consider equity-forward design. 22 Paper: http://bit.ly/RemoteWorkPaper

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