Why I tweet about diversity at tech-related events in Toronto

Hi, I’m Mohammed and I started Women and Color — a Twitter account that tweets stats about speaker diversity at tech-related events in Toronto. I believe it’s important to be transparent, so I’ve written this article to explain why I — as a man — started this initiative, what I plan to do with it, and how you can help.

Why I started Women and Color

  1. I recognize my privilege as a man, and I want to support women. I know and work with a number of talented women and it’s shameful to know that they may never get the same opportunities as I do, through no fault of their own.
  2. I’m underprivileged as a person of color. From job opportunities to Tinder matches, you’d be surprised by the number of ways someone can swipe past you just because of your skin color. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea that I don’t have the same opportunities that others have simply because I’m a person of color. And, if that’s the case for me, then I can only imagine how challenging it can be for women of color.
  3. I find the lack of diversity in tech to be disconcerting. It’s an industry that I’m excited to be a part of, but I have recently started to question its homogeneity. How can an industry that’s dependent on innovation lack diversity? Tech needs diversity if we want to build teams or organizations capable of innovation.

What I plan to do with Women and Color

  1. Create awareness about speaker diversity at tech-related events in Toronto. If event organizers are providing a few selected people the opportunity to speak in front of an audience, then they should take these opportunities to ensure a diverse panel of speakers. Event organizers should make a conscious effort to ensure that women and people of color are equally represented at each of their events.
  2. Develop a platform for women and people of color interested in speaking at tech-related events. If we are to hold event organizers accountable for ensuring a diverse speaker group, then we should also help by providing them with solutions. I plan to put together a site where event organizers can quickly search for speakers who identify as women and/or people of color.
  3. Scale Women and Color to other cities across Canada and the world. If we can make this work in Toronto, then I don’t see why we can’t scale it to other cities in Canada and around the world. It would be gratifying if every tech-related event had a diverse speaker group — regardless of where it was being hosted.

How you can help Women and Color

  1. Recommend this article. If you like this initiative, then please help to raise its awareness among your friends and professional network.
  2. Submit your info to be a speaker. If you identify as a woman and/or person of color, and are interested in speaking at tech-related events in Toronto, then please complete this short form with your info.
  3. Show your support on Twitter. Share your stories as a woman and/or person of color in tech with #womenandcolor, and be sure to follow us on Twitter.

If you have any feedback or are interested in getting involved with Women and Color, please DM me on Twitter. Thank you!