We don’t create our codes of conduct and response plans in a vacuum. Every community and group operates within the larger social system. When we call out the groups we wish to protect from discrimination and harassment, we acknowledge the inequities that exist in our world, which we choose not to echo. The categories often given in our codes of conduct mirror anti-discrimination laws in the United States and elsewhere. It’s important to remember that our organizations may be separately required to follow such laws, and that the code of conduct is not a substitute.

The Stumptown Syndicate code of conduct (which this project operates under) says:

A primary goal of the Stumptown Syndicate is to be inclusive to the largest number of participants, with the most varied and diverse backgrounds possible. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religion (or lack thereof).

Let’s dig into those areas a little (plus a few more).

Race and ethnicity

While no one wants to be labeled a racist, racial harassment and discrimination is common and often overlooked, and White people are often unaware of the daily experiences of the people of color around them.

It’s a big topic, so try [So You Want to Talk about Race](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35099718-so-you-want-to-talk-about-race by Ijeoma Oluo as a starting point.


Gender-related issues are the most common area of diversity that tech communities try to address. We have a plethora of groups focused on raising awareness and supporting women coming into the industry. Here are some areas that may be overlooked:

Gender isn’t a binary

Everything from our web forms to our outreach groups implicitly sorts people into two categories: men and women. The actual reality of gender is much more diverse.

No pipeline can fix a retention issue


One experience: Mid-career survival for women who don’t want to be an attrition statistic by Julie Pagano.

Trans women are women

Sexual orientation

In many parts of the US, it’s legal to discriminate against someone for being gay, including firing them. In other parts of the world, homosexuality is illegal or otherwise persecuted. While visibility and acceptance have grown, especially through the internet, actual safety varies considerably.


Socio-economic status

Housing status


Citizenship and immigration status

Categories that aren’t appropriate to list

That intersectional part

This list barely scratches the surface of the kinds of issues we should work to be more aware of, and many people are affected by multiple things at the same time. When we say “women” we need to mean women of color, trans women, women with disabilities, and women who aren’t fluent in English or US citizens too — and many others.

We can build our understanding of diversity by actively supporting the representation of people who are here already. Use the photos from #WoCintech Chat in your presentations and documentation. Find inspiration. Listen.

More resources