Given that the National Congress is coming up, I would like to start a couple of conversations about our policies and some suggested changes that might be made to them.
I think that PPau has a diversity problem and I also think that long time active members know this - hence why we were asked during the selection process.I am writing this because at least three people have independently asked me about this and then this AM I saw this tweet retweeted by Dr Krystal. The conversation is interesting, the best comment being ‘to “convince” & “fix” is possibly the wrong approach’. Given that PPau has a strong position on science and education, I think that the women in STEM issue is one that we should not only be aware of, but active in trying to address.
Note: I wrote this screed this AM. Since then the twitter discussion has gone very badly for the Science Party and is an excellent example of why we should be prepared with a statement (see below)
So, to this end, I think we need a formal reply and a formal position. Two separate but connected statements.
Our position should be an active attempt to open the PPau space up, to make sure that behaviour within PPau spaces is respectful of all of the people in it, and that we help educate our members and the broader public on how they can be more inclusive.
To this end I think we should have, at the very least, a Code of Conduct applicable to all PPau spaces (discuss, IRC, f2f meets, etc) and a diversity statement.
I think that the Django Project has a good example of a diversity statement and that the Open Knowledge Australia’s Code of Conduct is another that we should borrow heavily from.
I think these two statements go a long way towards having a policy on “race, gender and diversity” without actually writing anything formal. Something more formal can be fashioned from these documents.
Unfortunately without action, I think that these alone are hollow. In terms of becoming more diverse the PPau needs to address these issues:
- hard due to expense, but childcare at the national congress.
- more opportunities to interact with the PPau through regular channels
- to this end: more regular f2f meetups to reduce issues of access, but also to just “get out there more”.
This will need to be broken down into various parts. Meeting for what reason? Either we need to have a party direction or it’s devolves to an informal meet up that isn’t necessarily compelling for new members.
Alternatively we could create a space within another space. Here I’m thinking something along the lines of “meeting at the same time and venue as similar to have a ‘mini-meet’.” Something like having regular “privacy, fair use, digital rights” discussions at Open Knowledge meets for example, or a regular "learn PGP/GPG/IRC/“the s in https” teach ins.
My final thought on this one is, knowing that it will be unpopular, that we (PPau) make the change to use an inferior and unpleasant software for organising, like Meetup. It’s not ideal, but it’s where the people are and it encourages, and allows for, serendipity. It’s also a better and more consistent option that Facebook. Can 100% guarantee that IRC and discuss, for all their power and self hosting beauty and etc, are incompatible with access and diversity - at least until PPau is big enough to draw people into those spaces due to social-gravity.
- other actions I can’t think of right now.
Finally, I think our statement should say something along the lines of:
(you can add/change here: https://pad.pirateparty.org.au/p/Diversity_Statement_2016 )
PPau acknowledges that all of it’s candidates are white men. PPau also acknowledges that it’s National Council is also homogeneous, but would highlight that there is some gender representation within its committees and has previously run women for Senate positions in federal elections.
We would like that this wasn’t so, but it is.
PPau also acknowledges that there are systemic issues relating to the advancement of women, people of colour and other minorities within the sciences and society in general. These issues include, but are not limited to, experiences of violence, social exclusion and loss of liberty.
We would also like that this wasn’t so, but it is.
We endeavour to do what we can to address these issues when and as we can in a serious and ongoing manner, starting immediately.
We believe that our current Education(1), and Marriage(2) policies in some way address these issues. We would also point to our “Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and prohibition of racial discrimination” (3) and Asylum seeker and Refugee (4) policies as efforts we have made thus far.
Of course, while it isn’t necessarily explicit, we also believe that our Health, Welfare and Digital and Civil liberties policies(5) are all aimed at reducing inequality and addressing issues of access.
The Pirate Party will introduce a Code of Conduct and a Diversity Statement at it’s next National Congress as an indication of it’s commitment to addressing these issues internally, while we continue to fight these issue externally.