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The Basics

I've created a survey to hopefully paint a clearer image of the perception of gender relations in EA spaces, intended to be taken by all genders, but primarily revolving around issues which predominantly but not exclusively affect women.  If you're on the fence about taking it, all questions are optional, and you're free to limit your responses however you see fit. There is also room for anonymous feedback at the end of the survey.


After being a part of multiple conversations at a wide variety of in-person EA events/gatherings and on this forum, I've come away with the impression that interactions within the EA community on the whole are, for me, more exhausting than energizing. A large part of this has been the way conversations around gender and sexuality are conducted. I've had some narrow conversations with other women and non-binary people in EA who have largely sympathized with my experiences, but I want to know what people of all genders think outside of the leading context of a conversation. Most of the questions are rather open-ended, and I encourage you to share stories rather than only check off boxes.

 I've been thinking carefully about this project for the better part of ~6 months, and many people have very kindly offered me quality feedback, so I hope the results will be a productive contributor in ongoing conversations.

What I'm doing with the results

I would like to follow up this post with anonymized aggregated results and perhaps a selection of anonymized narratives. I'll know more about what exactly this will look like after I have a few responses. If you would like to be alerted when results are ready, please leave your email here, so that the survey itself can remain anonymous.


If you have any questions or think I should add something/clarify something within this post, please let me know; I'm happy to answer comments & DMs.  




Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 7:55 PM

Hi! I'm not an expert in survey design, but I'd love to get the most out of the data you collect here, so some thoughts as I read through it (ignore if unhelpful):

  • "Think about the other people who work with you at your organization: Are managers and supervisors at your organization disproportionately one gender? If so, which?"
    • I would find this more helpful if it asked what percentage of managers and supervisors at my organization were men (or women or also asked about nonbinary) to get numerical and not make too much depend on what "disproportionate" means
  • "Think about your interactions in EA social spaces (e.g. conferences, social retreats). While in these spaces, how often have you felt, or do you feel, each of the following? (Don’t worry about whether you can pinpoint exact moments.)"
    • Really interested in this, and I'm glad you pulled professional contexts out, though I'd also really want to know about conferences and retreats separate from general social spaces
  • "Think of all the granters and regranters you've ever known of or heard about. How many of them were of what gender? (# women, # men, # third gender/nonbinary, etc.)"
    • This seems most useful as numerical answers rather than having them all put in the same box for data analysis purposes
  • "If you hypothetically raised concerns about cause area prioritization on the EA Forum, how confident do you feel that your concerns would be taken seriously?
    • I realize all of these things are fuzzy, and it's still good to know about fuzzy things, but I would understand results better with some operationalization of taken seriously.
  • "Have you ever encountered any of these behaviors while at work?"
    • Might be more helpful to have the frequency markers than the yes/no? I realize this makes the survey longer.

It's always easier to critique than to make things, so kudos for trying to do a thing and hope this is helpful.

(I'll also probably just flag the obvious about selection bias and the sensitivity of this data.)

+1, thanks for designing this! Another thing that wasn't entirely clear to me was whether questions like "Have you made professional decisions based on wanting to escape a particular group of coworkers or company culture?" and "Have you ever experienced any of these behaviors while at work, or from your coworkers, managers, or other individuals you knew in a professional setting?" were meant to refer to my current role, or my entire career.

Likewise I wasn't sure if this one was meant to be specific to EA spaces or to every social space I've ever been in: "Have you ever experienced retaliation for rejected romantic or sexual advances in your social sphere?"

I ran a similar survey on race / ethnicity a few years ago and the main issue was that I wasn't sure it was very representative. You'll probably get people who feel very strongly (one way or another) about the issue, so it's important to think about ways to encourage people who don't have strong feelings to participate in the survey and when you write up results keep in mind that saying things like x% of respondents could overstate (in either direction) whatever you're reporting on.

Hi Vaidehi, I'm really glad there's history to this process! A lot of community conversations and changes are years overdue. 

I also got the sense when formulating the idea of this survey that it would be very difficult to get widespread participation such that it would be representative, especially without a strong network of people to distribute it to directly. As such, I wasn't overly concerned with presenting any outcomes as representational at the community level. I do want to hear from people who feel very strongly about this issue, particularly women, which is why much of the survey is free-form and oriented towards narrative. I hope that makes sense. 

This is a great project, thanks for doing this! I think the results will be really informative. 

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