Re: [Hyperledger Architecture WG] [Hyperledger Performance and Scale WG] [Hyperledger Identity WG] [Hyperledger TSC] How can we improve diversity in the Hyperledger technical community?

Bob Summerwill

BTW - I have spotted another diversity issue in Hyperledger:

We have too many Dans (O'Prey, Middleton, Selman) and not enough diversity of other first names.  I am not sure how we work to address this, but it is food for thought!

Have a great weekend, everyone :-)

PS. Great input, everybody.   So happy to see this discussion happening.

On Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 9:59 AM, Bob Summerwill <bob@...> wrote:

That is all awesome.  Thank you so much for dropping those knowledge bombs on the Hyperledger community :-)

I love the White Men as Full Diversity Partners approach.  That makes so much sense to me.   Female colleagues of mine in blockchain frequently highlight that the lazy default response of having the small number of very active women in any community "carrying the load" of our diversity issues makes very little sense.   It is not the women or people of color who are the problem!   Also, those individuals are busy trying to do their work and struggling against the tide in even doing that.

I am a Community Ambassador for because I think it is my responsibility as a man and a father and indeed just as a human being to do whatever I can to help to address the inclusion issues I see all the time in blockchain.   There are so many overlapping cultural issues, but gender is obviously the most blatant inclusion issue, as  I highlighted at the very start of this thread.

I am delighted to have triggered this discussion.   I hope that people who are in a position to make a difference do take this issue seriously and do the work, as you suggest.

Best wishes!  I loved your talk in SF at Decentralized Summit.  Thanks for everything you do.

On Thu., Aug. 23, 2018, 6:02 p.m. Kaliya Identity Woman, <kaliya@...> wrote:
HI Kyle, 

On Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 4:31 PM, Kyle Den Hartog <kyle.denhartog@...> wrote:
I think one thing Kaliya pointed out earlier that would be a huge first step to start would be for us all to invite one person who wouldn't fit the typical background (racial, gender, economic, nationality, and professional background are the five I consider important in this context) to come contribute to projects.

I didn't make this recommendation. 
While it is a good recommendation on one level. It may be putting the cart before the horse in another level. 

The cultural work that needs to be done so that the likelyhood of white women and men and women of color will have less bad experiences in our communities is work that is better done before one does the hard work of inviting people into participate. 

Instead of working to invite a bunch of folks in...and then they experience the default regular stuff that "always happens" (despite people's good intentions) 

It would be a better story to be like "Hey, our community did some introspection we noticed there we not so many white woman and men and women of color here, we went and hired some folks, did some training, learned some new skills, cultural frames, we are still early days but we actually started the work we need to do to make things better, to are trying to be proactilvey more inclusive,  and welcoming.   I'd like to invite you to _____, meetup, event, webinar, weekly call, check out our GitHub (whatever)  we know we won't be perfect right away - we are still new at this but we are working hard and ___, ___, and ___ have gone beyond the basics and have done allyship training." <<<--- that story is impressive. It will likely get people to say YES to at least stepping a toe in the water of the community.   

Also a thing to do is talk to the people who ARE IN THE community who are white women and men and women people of color about what is working for them, what isn't working for them and what it would take for them to invite more people like themselves in. Because they aren't inviting their friends in for a good reasons and until those reasons are addressed - they themselves are willing to "tolerate them" but they are't willing to explore their friends and colleagues to them. 

What I have learned as a white immigrant woman to the US is that the experiences of people of color are different then mine and I have learned huge amounts from my black friends who have explained to me cultural patterns and things that happen to them regularly. Now I see those things. I work hard not to do them. They are subtle and pervasive.  They are done by people who "don't have a racist or sexist bone in their bodies" We live in a deeply racist and sexist culture that is like water - we can't see it. Implicit bias goes very very deep. The slow work of 1) understanding it is there 2) doing something about it.  

Implicit bias - Blind Spot The Hidden Biases of Good People 
 Had the opportunity to take a class with her at Harvard in an Executive Leadership program I went through

Then there is 3) going beyond just implicit bias to a sort of proactive inclusion stance that truly embraces cultural differences and INCLUSIVE which Is quite different then passively "open". 

I know Steven Frost via my participation in the Young Global Leader Community 

Here is his site -
He has a book out -

I think the issue faced in the open source communities is bigger then within companies with boundaries and clear who is "in". 

I think the issue faced by communities that are even bigger then projects (like for example the identity community that has many organizations and lots of activity but there is really no place to go if things get off the rails other then peers (Who often tell you to drop things "cause" its easier that way)

None the less this is the cultural moment we are in. 

I'm grateful that this conversation is happening. 

I am working with a woman who was also at the Decentralized Web Summit on a Webinar we are going to call "White Dudes, Get a Clue" to provide some like starter level education about the stuff you don't see cause you are fully "in" the culture that isn't really fun to be in if you aren't you. It is tiring and grating and after about 10 years we have had enough and we leave.  That isn't our fault for not leaning in. We leave because we want our sanity and we don't want it to be "that hard" to do our work. 

It would be great if Hyperledger/ Linux Foundation got behind funding some basic educational resources for 1) understanding the cultural stuff 101
2) really supporting community leaders in what they can do in their own communities that they lead in terms of their own practices as leaders and in how they show up as allies for folks.  So allyship training. 
3) Even more advanced would be to do some sort of in person leadership training with the Art of Leadership just for this community with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. 

I guess it also goes back to these companies and who is "paid" to volunteer on Hyperledger stuff - shifting who gets hired to the big companies to work on this work is also a vector for change. 

I think there is something you can do that is very practical it is  1) Invitation - to things you are leading and participating in 2) Encouragement - how many of you reached out to technical women on your projects and said you know you should apply/put your name in the ring for that Technical Governance Board 

I know for me these two things tip me over the edge for things I think about doing. I LISTEN to the invitations (I know I'm welcome then- I have a backer if something happens (The invitee)) The encouragements - that is you aren't directly involved but know about - yeah you should do that...and then another  nudge after a week (Did you do it yet) and then even better get someone else to also encourage the person too. Not in a pushy way. In a real encouraging way. When they express challenges they might if taking on the thing - listen and be an ally in helping them see the challenges if they show up, if they get the role/position. 

Also, resource the people you want to show up and contribute. 
I have been asked several time why I don't "just volunteer" for a thing in the identity community. Yeah, I've volunteered doing so many things and so much intellectual and emotional labor it is just unbelievably large. At this point I can't afford to do the type of work this person was suggesting I do "for free".  If diversity is valuable then value it literally. 

Also below this is a list of folks who work more on addressing issues around People of Color diversity but a lot of it is

I hope all this helps. 
Happy to work with the Hyperledger/Linux foundation people on anything I outlined here. 

- Kaliya

Vaya Consulting lead by Nicole Sanchez.
I heard her speak twice this week actually. Once at InteropITX and once at TechSuper Woman. She is fantastic in terms of her work doing cultural assessments and helping leadership understand what needs to change. 

Beyond the Culture of Separation, Programs for white-identified people who are committed to changing the story of separation. They have a weekend intensive coming up -

The UnTraining folks offer a workshops but this isn't happening until the fall so isn't going to be helpful "now". 

Cook Ross also offers work for Unconscious bias and organizational transformation -

Robert Gass' and his Art of Leadership program engages with both personal leadership development, including a 360 assessment you give to peers and see the results at the workshop. The work gets to inclusion as well.  
The one time of year he himself teaches it is at Hollyhock (in Canada) in the summer -

The Social Transformation Project has taken Robert's work and turned it into tools that organizations can use - (one form doesn't fix the problem either)

Paul Kivel is based in Oakland and offers individual mentoring which may be a path worth considering too.   

Sharif Abdulah works on supporting build inclusive cultures and has been doing work globally with all types of organizations. I have briefed him a little bit about what has happened within the community.

Victor Lewis is also a fantastic human who you could engage to process the issues.

I am no expert on this subject though, so I'll defer to hers and others expertise on the best ways to approach this and other next steps forward.

To go along with this, I think each of our projects can identify some key aspects that we need help with so we can more easily identify people who can bring nuance and diversity to the conversation. I know for us over in the Indy community, we'd love to have more people making core contributions to the IndySDK, Indy Node, and Indy Plenum projects, but there's ton of work that's just as important that people can help with outside of writing code. Another thing I'd like to see improved in Indy is documentation on both a technical level and business level. Along with this, it would be awesome to see some videos that could explain some of the tricky identity concepts. This is just my two cents worth though, but it's some ideas for people to take back to their communities and explore specific actions we can take to improve as a community.

-Kyle DH

On Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 4:55 PM =Drummond Reed <drummond.reed@...> wrote:
So if we agree we want to address the problem, what do we actually do? What steps in what order?

On Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 12:42 PM, Kaliya Identity Woman <kaliya@...> wrote:
I don't think the Linux foundation should gather womens groups to gather to "to share experiences and define a new inclusive tech culture."

The new inclusive tech culture means men and by and large white men do the work they need to do on their own about how their culture is not working for "everyone else" and then doing something collectively to address it.  

"we" white women and men and women of color can't do the work that is really those in the dominant culture's to do. That is radically increase self-awareness about how much space you take up in meetings, how you interrupt "us", how you take our ideas, our code, play games and steal our work from us. 

Stop saying credit doesn't matter. 
Stop saying to white women and men and women of color come to you hoping you will be allies in a situation that "you should just walk away" no - you need to more often then not stand with them and SAY SOMETHING or better yet materially help them. 

These guys maybe helpful -

If we do our work. You guys need to do your work. 

- Kaliya

On Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 8:37 AM, Mark Simpson <mark.simpson@...> wrote:

Great thread all !


And good to see Marta on this thread – a great ambassador for blockchain and women in tech!


I know there are lots of disparate groups of women in tech/blockchain etc, but I’m wondering if there is a way for the linux foundation to help bring these groups together, to share experiences and define a new inclusive tech culture.








From: <> on behalf of Kaliya Identity Woman <kaliya@...>
Date: Thursday, 23 August 2018 at 15:22
To: Vipin Bharathan <vipinsun@...>
Cc: "tsc@..." <tsc@...>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "blythe@..." <blythe@...>
Subject: Re: [Hyperledger Performance and Scale WG] [Hyperledger Identity WG] [Hyperledger TSC] How can we improve diversity in the Hyperledger technical community?


I read through this thread.


At the very beginning it is about the TGC.


If you want women (and minorities) to run for positions in organizations like this you can’t just be “open” to them running you need to ask and invite and encourage them to run for positions like this.


I’m not on all the lists - this thread has happened on.


I don’t know that Womens only groups are ghettoizing. At a certain size organization they help women connect to each other - give mutual support and the type of encouragement and connection that is helpful when dealing with the default environment in tech that is inherently “hostile” (despite everyone’s well meaningless) 


I ran a Womens only tech conference for 10 years that lots of Women “who don’t do Womens only things” came to and loved so I have some experience of doing them well.


If hyper ledger wants to improve diversity it could consider training and education about how men can be more self aware to reduce the stuff that is so culturally normal but ultimately alienating. 


Just some thoughts. 


- Kaliya 



On Aug 23, 2018, at 7:07 AM, Vipin Bharathan <vipinsun@...> wrote:

Hi all,


On the Identity WG we promoted the diversity message at yesterday's call. There is already a strong contribution from women in the working group and on the paper, however more contributions and attendance on the calls are welcome. We also made the point about all dimensions of diversity during the call. 


You will have my personal support on the Identity working group, Architecture Working Group as well as PSWG (groups I am involved with). I agree with Marta's message that having women only groups may introduce a ghetto mentality; this was my experience in several writers groups in New York city. I refused to join the "Asian Writers Corner" back in the 90s. What we need is support from Hyperledger and the speakers bureau and inclusiveness in panels, speakers fora and other venues for all dimensions of diversity.  Of course this is difficult when the decision makers are concentrated in one segment. 


Often the debate can turn ugly like it did in Google and other venues when this matter came up- false judgement of competence and a sense of being unfairly wronged and discriminated against by the dominant group may resonate far and wide like it did in our own political process in the US and elsewhere. Of course I do not agree with those sentiments, but they exist. 


We only hear assenting voices in the emails, there is the silent majority to contend with. To be successful, any measure that we take has to be aware of those key but yet unvoiced complaints as well and address those head on. No one admits to being a racist or a sexist or an ageist and it may be very difficult to see in oneself since self-knowledge is the most difficult kind of knowledge. 


This is not going to be an easy issue to redress, tech in general suffers from this syndrome; most societies and groups are built on the basis of discriminatory culture. This is not to say that we need not address these issues; but acknowledge that it may take more than lip service and a few initiatives; nonetheless we must persevere with action for real change!






On Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 8:10 AM brad rotter <brotter@...> wrote:




That was a superb point.


Just wanted to note that i am returning from speaking at a two blockchain conferences last week in Toronto.  


I observed a great number of woman at both events. Indeed, both conferences were produced by an amazing woman named Tracey Leparulo who runs Untraceable and has been involved in crypto since the early days of Ethereum.


Bradley Rotter





On Aug 23, 2018, at 05:59, Marta Piekarska <> wrote:

Dear Dan

These are great ideas, thank you! One word of caution: doing women only groups, events and so on, tends to isolate women more than actually help. We are not a different spices and we don’t need special treatment;) the way we do not creat men only groups for male support, women only or American only or whatever only groups are not a good vehicle for increasing diversity. 

I think the fact that we are already having this discussion is really good, I’m very glad to see everyone’s concern. It is interesting that over half of Hyperledger staff is female but it does t seem to encourage higher participation from the community. 

Thank you for bringing this up!

Have a great day


Marta Piekarska
Director of Ecosystem, Hyperledger


+447802336641 (U.K)
Signal, Wickr (martap)


Based in the U.K.


Sent from a mobile device, please excuse brevity. 

On 23 Aug 2018, at 10:36, Dan Selman <dan@...> wrote:

Contacting existing women maintainers and contributors 1:1 is an easy first step. Encourage them to apply to the TSC or to move from contributor to maintainer. Explain what it entails, and set up a "Women in Hyperledger" group where they can meet and mentor each other. Use HL funds to fly those interested to an inaugural women-only meetup/kick-off. Ask Blythe, Kathryn Harrison, Marie Wiek, Tracy, Daniella and other women in the industry to speak at the event. I'm sure IBM, Oracle, Intel, and others would sponsor if asked. Get press coverage to encourage more women to join HL. Allocate a budget for the "Women in HL" group so they can self-organize and decide on how best to encourage more participation.


My two cents. Happy to help if you need yet another middle-aged white man's opinion! :-)









On Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 6:03 AM Shawn Amundson <amundson@...> wrote:

There are certainly female engineers within the projects, but not all engineers are subscribed to this mailing list.


In Minneapolis, there is an effort to get a "Women in Blockchain" meetup off the ground:



We plan to cross-promote this meetup with a larger blockchain meetup we run in Minneapolis, and hopefully it will get critical mass.


These meetups and maybe other events could be a good way to identify leaders who could be encouraged to participate and give presentations at Hyperledger events. (Which presumably is a good way to get name recognition within HL, etc., etc.)




On Wed, Aug 22, 2018 at 1:00 PM, Blythe Masters via Lists.Hyperledger.Org <> wrote:


I'm reading along from vacation and very glad to hear some truth being spoken on this sorry topic. 

I'm also conscious that although I may be a lone female "role model" in the Hyperledger governance structure, I'm not an engineer or developer, so hardly have a recipe for navigation based on my own experience. What I've learned from the financial sector also reinforces that this is a very hard problem to address. 

This is bigger than a Hyperledger problem of course, but we can and should make an effort given the platform we have, and I have already asked Brian to put the topic on the agenda at our next governing board meeting. 

Please do all keep suggestions coming. 

Dan (O'Prey) and I have been discussing ok ur own ideas. 




Blythe Masters
Chief Executive Officer
c: +1 917 880 7829
e: blythe@... 

On Aug 22, 2018, at 1:33 PM, Bob Summerwill <bob@...> wrote:

Dan - She(256) are great, yes.  I am personally involved with CryptoChicks, and am in contact with various other organizations working towards similar goals.
William - No women self-nominated.  Looking back through prior TSC elections, I don't think any women have ever self-nominated.

Before we get to solutions, I would like to ask the women of Hyperledger - how can we help?

There must be women on this mailing list.   They are who I would really like to hear from on this topic.


On Tue, Aug 21, 2018 at 4:47 PM, William Sparks <wsparks@...> wrote:

Hi Bob,

I am unclear if any females nominated themselves or were nominated?  Indeed a problem.  Elections happen and don’t always go as hoped.  Therefore, I propose the following for discussion:


1.  Perhaps a temp solution is to appoint an agreed number of at large TSC members selected by the LF and TSC.  I recognize this gets into governance but likely worth the effort. 


2.  Query the WG’s and projects for at large candidates that currently display avid participation within the HL umbrella.


Just a thought,








On Aug 21, 2018, at 17:21, Bob Summerwill <bob@...> wrote:

Further to this earlier thread:

And ...

  • All 29 TSC candidates are male.
  • All 11 existing TSC members are male.
  • Of the HL governing board 20/21 are male too, with the sole exception being Blythe Masters, the Chair.

Brian said ...

Thank you for bringing this up Bob, I agree that more can be done.

We are always open to ideas for more we could be doing as Linux Foundation staff on this project.  Diversity on the 10 internships we funded this cycle is greater than the below (I believe it's 3 out of the 10 but need to check).  We have provided support for a number of diversity-focused blockchain events and general computer industry events.  Let's start a new thread for any ideas folks might have about other approaches that can help.





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Dan Selman

CTO, Clause Inc.

Chair of Accord Project Technology Working Group


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