CF Summit Diversity Conversation: How to Give Visibility & Value to Care Work

By: | October 19, 2020
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This post is about the Diversity Conversation on Wednesday, October 21st with a keynote from Lauren Bacon entitled “Making the Invisible Visible: Seeing, Respecting, and Valuing Care and Maintenance in our Code and Beyond.” Register for Summit here.  

The European Cloud Foundry Summit’s Diversity Luncheon has been renamed the Diversity Conversation to better reflect our virtual event time zones. We hope our European attendees cozy up with some afternoon tea while our North American colleagues burn the midnight oil alongside a strong cup of coffee. 

The name Diversity Conversation is also true to what this event is about at its core: A discussion on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion within the Cloud Foundry community, the open source ecosystem and in the tech industry at large. As a community, we are in constant dialogue with one another to ensure ethical evolution of the projects, inclusion across a massive global community and transparency around current events.

The personal is the professional

It’s impossible to separate our professional lives from the personal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike regional events, the pandemic has affected every one of us in the Cloud Foundry community because it has touched everyone in the world. The pandemic has upended — and in many cases, revealed deep fissures in — the known structures of our culture. The line between home and workplace has blurred for millions of people across the globe, and that’s largely for those of us privileged enough to work remotely.

The tech industry is notoriously supportive of its employees and provides flexibility, stipends and other kinds of support for a labor force pivoting to remote work. However, even the tech industry can’t take the burden off working parents who are navigating a new world of remote schooling and loss of childcare in an economy that treats child-rearing and other forms of care work as externalities, rather than as central to our lives. 

The uneven expectations of care work

In cultures across the globe, care work is largely performed by women, people of color and immigrants, and is taken for granted by those who are not expected to adopt the role of caretaker. In the United States, the impact of gendered care work expectations has been brought into sharp relief in households with working parents, as working mothers are pushed to leave the workforce in droves compared to their male companions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 865,000 women left the workforce in the month of September alone — four times the number of men. 

Lauren Bacon will keynote this Summit’s Diversity Conversation on the ways in which care work is and isn’t noticed or appreciated, especially in the tech sector, and what each of us can do to make that invisible work more visible and, ultimately, more valued. Lauren Bacon is a start-up co-founder and strategist who began coding in 1996, started her own web consultancy in 2000, and currently works as a strategist for &yet, a software and design consultancy. Since 2000, Lauren has been writing about business, gender diversity in the tech industry and well-being at work on her blog, in a weekly newsletter and on TIME, Quartz and The Atlantic. In addition to her technology career, Lauren has a degree in classical voice, was a professional singer, studied martial arts and enjoys expat status as a Canadian in the U.S. 

The root of understanding is empathy

The Diversity Conversation at this year’s EU Summit seeks to address this shared experience for all of us in the Cloud Foundry community. Regardless of whether you are a parent, it’s imperative that we all understand the impact the pandemic has had on our friends, colleagues and partners, who may feel pressured to conceal the stress of balancing care work and career.

The Diversity Conversation is dedicated to subjects relating to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is a session open to all Summit attendees. We invite you to attend this event regardless of your prior experience with these topics. It is our hope that you leave the Diversity Conversation inspired and with a call to action, whether it’s a workshop to take, a conversation to have, a book to read, a practice to implement, or a question to ask.

See you at Summit!

Caitlyn O'Connell Profile Image

Caitlyn O'Connell, AUTHOR

As Senior Marketing Manager of Cloud Foundry Foundation, Caitlyn runs content and manages diversity programming.
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