After some recent discussion on the forum and on twitter about negative experiences that women have had in EA community spaces, I wanted to start a discussion about concrete actions that could be taken to make EA spaces safer, more comortable, and more inclusive for women. The community health team describes some of their work related to interpersonal harm here, but I expect there's a lot more that the wider community can do to prevent sexual harrassment and abusive behavior, particularly when it comes to setting up norms that proactively prevent problems rather than just dealing with them afterwards. Some prompts for discussion:
- What negative experiences have you had, and what do you wish the EA community had done differently in response to them?
- What specific behaviors have you seen which you wish were less common/wish there were stronger norms against? What would have helped you push back against them?
- As the movement becomes larger and more professionalized, how can we enable people to set clear boundaries and deal with conflicts of interest in workplaces and grantmaking?
- How can we set clearer norms related to informal power structures (e.g. people who are respected or well-connected within EA, community organizers, etc)?
- What codes of conduct should we have around events like EA Global? Here's the current code; are there things which should be included in there that aren't currently (e.g. explicitly talking about not asking people out in work-related 1:1s)?
- What are the best ways to get feedback to the right people on an ongoing basis? E.g. what sort of reporting mechanisms would make sure that concerning patterns in specific EA groups get noticed early? And which ones are currently in place?
- How can we enable people who are best at creating safe, welcoming environments to share that knowledge? Are there specific posts which should be written about best practices and lessons learned (e.g. additions to the community health resources here)?
I'd welcome people's thoughts and experiences, whether detailed discussions or just off-the-cuff comments. I'm particularly excited about suggestions for ways to translate these ideas to concrete actions going forward.
EDIT: here's a google form for people who want to comment anonymously; the answers should be visible here. And feel free to reach out to me in messages or in person if you have suggestions for how to do this better.