Kayla Daniels is a programmer who happens to be female. Unfortunately, people in her field focus more on her gender than on her programming expertise. Ms. Daniels gave a talk at Laracon (US) this year on her struggles of being a female programmer and not wanting the same sexist culture for her daughter. In response, she wrote a simple manifesto that she hoped more workplaces would adopt and encourage a radically different culture than the one she has lived through.
Here’s her goal:
Through this [manifesto], anyone who looks into our industry–to see what kind of people developers are–will see we are good people, that this a space that is worth being in, that they would want to be in, so that young people looking at becoming developers, be they minority or majority, are never deterred by the community that we are offering.
The following is the full-text of Ms. Daniels’ Code Manifesto. I read it and saw several points of contact with faith communities like the Christian faith. Take a read as if it were a Church worker that wrote it:
The Code Manifesto
by Kayla Daniels
We want to work in an ecosystem that empowers developers to reach their potential–one that encourages growth and collaboration. A space that is safe for all.
A space such as this benefits everyone that participates in it. It encourages new developers to enter our field. It is through discussion and collaboration that we grow, and through growth that we improve.
In the effort to create such a place, we hold to these values:
- Discrimination limits us. This includes discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, nationality and any other arbitrary exclusion of a group of people.
- Boundaries honor us. Your comfort levels are not everyone’s comfort levels. Remember that, and if brought to your attention, heed it.
- We are our biggest assets. None of us were born masters of our trade. Each of us has been helped along the way. Return that favor, when and where you can.
- We are resources for the future. As an extension of #3, share what you know. Make yourself a resource to help those that come after you.
- Respect defines us. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Make your discussions, criticisms and debates from a position of respectfulness. Ask yourself, is it true? Is it necessary? Is it constructive? Anything less is untolerated.
- Reactions require grace. Angry responses are valid, but abusive language and vindictive actions are toxic. When something happens that offends you, handle it assertively, but be respectful. Escalate reasonably, and try to allow the offender an opportunity to explain themselves, and possibly correct the issue.
Two immediate takeaways:
- Dual values of respect and giving back makes for a powerful place to co-create together. While it can come off as works righteousness when put into a church context, I suspect most churches want the people there to become their best selves and to serve the community inside and outside the church. Rather than an adversarial stance, a respectful arms-open stance gains more truck with a community than damning it.
- Lifting up gracefulness in online conversations. Programmers converse in asynchronous conversations, so the pushback against angry responses is absolutely necessary in the computer industry. In the church, our worst selves are often on display when we talk around a person, send anonymous (or even named) letters, and argue online. As the administrator of a 3,000 clergy group on Facebook, I’ve seen close to the worst that our own order treats each other online. To embody the same gracefulness that you give people in face-to-face conversations online is a skill that many of us need to continue to learn.
Thoughts? How would your church or ministry context change if they embodied the values above?