Diversity and Inclusion at W3C: 2020 update; future of the W3C Diversity Fund

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We must start, reflecting on our times, by saying clearly that we need to do a lot more to improve our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) including race, gender and disability. We have a long way to go, and we’d like to start taking steps to correct it.

Work on DEI takes place in several areas at W3C but I’d like to specifically highlight the establishment of the Inclusion and Diversity Community Group in 2018, who wanted to increase the presence of under-represented groups at the W3C, and strengthen W3C culture by supporting diversity. Today, that group is increasing focus on developing concrete steps of how we can improve further. Additionally, I’m encouraging our community to participate in the IDCG and suggest steps that we can take to make a difference in the future.

We have made some progress in the last two years, although not as substantial as we’d hoped. Last week, reflecting on current events, we tweeted about revising our Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Among the W3C community values it highlights, is standing against prejudice, racism and discrimination. We have in the last year prepared a thorough revision of the 2015 version, to modernize our Code and be aligned with evolving norms. W3C Members are currently reviewing it and we expect to approve it in early July. The public Positive Work Environment Community Group which prepared this revision continues to focus on how to improve our environment and make it welcoming for all.

Future of the W3C Diversity Fund

We are committed to attracting a diverse community, and to that effect, W3C stakeholders established a TPAC Diversity Fund in 2018 to fund travel to and participation in our annual technical plenary meeting. This year, for the first time, W3C itself is contributing toward that Fund and we expect to continue contributing in subsequent years. Sponsors in the past have typically given $1,500 and we hope they will continue to do so. W3C has decided for 2020 to contribute $5,000.

With this year’s TPAC going virtual, we need to consider where to focus Diversity Fund efforts. One leading idea is to fund equipment which can help support community members who are underrepresented to allow them to participate better in TPAC, and also to improve their effectiveness beyond. Please let me know if you have other ideas.

Diversity at W3C

The 2020 update to the gender and geography figures we shared last year follows.

Graphs on W3C diversity: Collected information

Different participants are involved in different ways, with mailing lists and GitHub postings distributed across many locations. As we do not collect participants’ personal and demographic data to preserve privacy, it is difficult to gather data for different characterizations of diversity, but we are able to focus on gender and geography for several representative bodies: W3C Advisory Board, W3C Technical Architecture Group, W3C Management (W3M).

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