Inclusion in action.
After meeting and learning from the OpenNews team in April, I was thrilled to win a scholarship to attend SRCCON, the annual OpenNews conference on digital journalism.
I applied to the scholarship as Chicas Poderosas Mexican ambassador and as Cívica Digital Product Lead and, thanks to my fellowship, I also participated as part of The Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab team.
Sessions in SRCCON are open conversations, friendly and safe spaces to talk and have opinions. But for me, the most important part of it was that the conference was an inspiring inclusive space and this is what I want to address in this post, inclusiveness.
Nieman Lab has a very good compilation on resources, notes and fun facts that happened at SRCCON if you want to get more into it.
As an activist working for women inclusion in digital media and technology for the last year, SRCCON is a motivating hopeful reflect of things changing, and people caring about inclusion and taking action in real life.
My story to getting to collaborate with Chicas Poderosas and work towards inclusion and equal opportunities comes from a specific story of a tech event in which from 600 participants, only 50 or 60 where women, Mexico’s City HACKCDMX 2015, where I was part of the winning team for the Civic Apps challenge.
After the hackathon, organised by Laboratorio para la Ciudad, the director and founder Gabriella Gomez-Mont was invited to Chicas Poderosas Summit in Stanford. Gabriella was not able to assist, but as she was concerned to get more women participating in tech events in Mexico she offered me her space for the summit. I have to say this opportunity changed my life for good.
As a Mexican woman working in tech for the last 9 years, gender inclusiveness was an issue that I was not aware I needed to worry about. My path from web designer to developer had been a very smooth transition, a journey full of people willing to help me to learn and become a front and back-end developer.
It was with Chicas Poderosas that I understood, I am a privileged woman. Not all women have access to the opportunity to learn how to code, to learn about technology, to improve their skills and jobs, and to generate a career in digital media.
For me, gender inequality was like being color blind my whole life, and suddenly having the ability to see a new color. You just can’t stop seeing it. So, I started seeing it in my life.
In the summer of 2015, I was a product manager in a global company with offices in Latin America, Asia and Africa. In the dev and product team there were less than 10 women, including me, versus 100 male teammates. I realised how I was underpaid in that same job as my Mexican coworkers with less experience and less rank. I realised the normalised sexism in previous jobs and the harassment I had taken as routine.
SRCCON showed me that there is a big walked road to include women in technology and journalism, but it also made me understand that there still a long way to walk for Latin American women.
We need to generate spaces where violence, sexism, inequality and the lack of opportunities are inexistent, but in our way there we need to make it visible everywhere we go.
Now I want to work for Chicas Poderosas to replicate the free, inclusive, and inspiring soul of SRCCON in all Latin America tech and journalism events. Wanna join?
P.S: My favorite session at SRCCON was ours (Mobile Innovation Lab), the conversation was super interesting and the ideation part was very productive. I also enjoyed very much the session about breaking news, and the session about design methodologies in newsrooms.