#95 – Pooja Derashri on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in WordPress

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case, how we can promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the WordPress project and community.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice. Or by going to WPTavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you, or your idea, featured on the show. Head to WPTavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and use the form there.

So on the podcast today, we have Pooja Derashri. Pooja is a co-founder of WPVibes, a plugin development company based in India. With a passion for WordPress, pooja has been actively involved in the community since 2013. Her journey as a contributor began in 2017 when she attended her first local WordCamp. Her expertise and dedication have under various key roles in the WordPress ecosystem. She currently serves as co-team rep for the training team, and GTE for the Hindi local. In addition, she holds key positions in the WordPress release squad for version 6.3 and 6.4, where she heads up the test team.

Pooja shares her insights on the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within the WordPress community, and explores how you don’t need to be a coder to be a part of the community and all that it is.

We discussed the work of teams like polyglots, who focus on translating WordPress projects into different languages, and docs, who provide much needed documentation to help users understand and contribute to the platform. These initiatives alone make it clear that WordPress is reliant on non-coding contributions, and there are more ways to contribute than have a before.

I ask Pooja about her experiences with diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry, and she reflects on the challenges she has faced, discussing the importance of recognizing and addressing unconscious biases. She shares her insights on the need for training and workshops that empower diverse individuals to contribute and speak up within the WordPress community.

We delve into Birgit Olzem’s proposal to form an official D E I B team within WordPress, aiming to implement diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging throughout the whole community. I express my excitement about the potential outcome of this proposal, and we think about how WordPress compares to other parts of the tech industry.

We explore the various initiatives and efforts being made to build a more inclusive WordPress culture. From mentorship programs, to targeted outreach and safe spaces, we uncover the ways in which underrepresented voices are being uplifted.

If you’re interested in creating a more inclusive community, this episode is for you.

If you’d like to find out more, you can find all of the links in the show notes by heading to WPTavern.com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.

And so without further delay, I bring you Pooja Derashri

I am joined on the podcast today by Pooja Derashri. Hello Pooja!

[00:04:09] Pooja Derashri: Hi Nathan. So glad to join you.

[00:04:12] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah thank you for joining me today. We’re going to be talking a little bit today about a subject which you may well have heard me talk about before. I had an interview with Jill Binder and Birgit Olzem quite recently. This episode is going to follow on shortly after that. We’re going to be talking about an acronym, DEIB or Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.

Before we get into the subject at hand though. Pooja I wonder, would you mind just introducing yourself? Tell us a bit about who you are, where you are, and what it is that brought you to WordPress, what it is that you do within WordPress and so on?

[00:04:50] Pooja Derashri: Yeah. My name is Pooja Derashri, and I am from India. I’m a co founder of WPVibes, a plugin development company, and I am also a WordPress contributor. Currently I’m a co team rep for the training team and GTE for Hindi locale. Along with this, I’m also in the WordPress release squad for 6.3 and 6.4, where I’m leading the test team.

Basically I’ve been working in WordPress since 2013. But my contribution journey started in 2017 when I was first introduced to WordPress community in one of the local WordCamps.

[00:05:30] Nathan Wrigley: That’s an amazing story. You’ve got a lot of past, and heritage, and interest in the community. I’m guessing if you are part of the WordPress community and you’ve been part of the release squad, and it sounds like you are attending events and things like that as well. You’ve got a real interest in the community being diverse, equitable, inclusive, and the last word in the acronym, belonging.

Do you want to just tell us a little bit about how you came to be interested in this subject? Obviously, if you’ve got a plugin development company, one might expect that all of your endeavours would be towards coding and plugins and documentation and all of those kind of things, but clearly not. You’ve got an interest in all of these things. Tell us why it is that you’ve found this to be important.

[00:06:13] Pooja Derashri: Yes. Basically I have a short story to tell about. In my region, where I’m belonging, there is a conception that women are not good for tech jobs and women can’t do coding. In my first job there were members of 10 to 12 in my company. They have a stereotype thinking that women are not for the tech jobs, women are not good for tech jobs. And at that time I feel like an outsider, and I’m not good for that.

In that company they were not giving me challenging tasks, and they were just giving me simple, easy tasks. So I was thinking like, what am I doing here? Then soon I realised, I switched from that company, in just two months. Then I joined a different company which is far better than that company.

And there I got respected. I was welcomed. They gave me equal chances to work, and they gave me equal opportunities to work on coding. That was quite a nice experience. If I was not being treated unfairly, then I would never know about how that feeling was.

When I got that feeling, then I searched about and heard in a workshop, what is DEIB, and why it matters? And I just connected the dots, like I similarly faced that issue in my first job and I should do something about it. So in my opinion diversity is all about making sure that everyone feels welcome, respected and treated fairly no matter who they ,are.

[00:07:52] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you. That’s a really interesting story that you’ve got there. I wonder if we might just delve into that a little bit more deeply. You obviously had two fairly different experiences there. One, which was fairly negative, and you wish to separate yourself from that company and go and work at a different company. And it sounds like that was a much better experience.

You’re obviously coming out of India on this call today. Do you feel that this is a problem which is systemic where you live? Do you, in other words, feel that this bias, for want of a better word, this lack of diversity and equity and inclusion, is something which is endemic where you live? So what I’m really asking is, do you think that there’s a problem in your part of the world that maybe isn’t quite so pronounced in other parts of the world?

[00:08:44] Pooja Derashri: Yeah. Actually I come from a rural background where people have held certain fixed mindsets, and they are being biased in some situations. So yeah, we can say that they are not treated, they are thinking like this tech world is only for male or something like that, particularly in my region.

I’m not talking about the whole of India. We have some better mindsets, and better conceptions in other part of India. But in my region, in my small city, that is a very unfair, or we can say biased, conception or misconception.

[00:09:23] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you for that. I wonder if there’s legislation in place in your part of the world to tackle this kind of thing. And whether or not there’s legislation, doesn’t of course mean that it does not happen, I think the same would be true in other parts of the world as well. Simply because there are laws to prevent this kind of thing, doesn’t mean that those laws are obeyed.

So quick question around that, we’ll go off piste for a moment. In the part of the world where you are, is there laws around this kind of thing, around discrimination and inclusion? In other words, from a legal point of view, is this not tolerated?

[00:09:58] Pooja Derashri: Yes we have very tough laws on these things. But we can’t change any person’s conception. But I was lucky enough that my parents were not thinking that if a female can do that. They gave us equal rights. For my in laws, they gave me the equal opportunities and encouraged me, motivated me always to do whatever I wanted to do. So it’s about the few people in my first company. They had that mindset but not every people is going with the same mindset.

[00:10:35] Nathan Wrigley: I have a follow up question, and it’s about the place where you described first, the job where that organisation wasn’t particularly diverse, and they certainly don’t sound like they were particularly inclusive. Was there any part of you that felt like throwing in the towel? And what I mean by that is just thinking okay this is what tech is like, I’m just going to change industry altogether.

Now it sounds like you have got a background where you described your parents making sure that everything was equal for you. But despite that, did you at any point think well if this is what the tech industry is going to be like, I’m not going to be a part of it?

And I wonder really if that’s the root of the problem here. In that we’re trying to get it to the point where no person, no matter what their background is, no matter what their ethnicity is or religion or whatever it may be. Where they feel that they can’t be part of the industry because they’re getting signals from their employers, and the industry more broadly that they don’t belong. So yeah, the question basically is, did you ever feel like, okay I shan’t be part of tech if this is what it’s going to be like?

[00:11:43] Pooja Derashri: No, I never thought that. I was always encouraged by my close circle that you should do whatever you want, despite what other people think. You should face that problem and overcome from that.

I thought in my first job that if they are not accepting me and they are not finding me good enough then, why shouldn’t I change the job? I can’t change their mindset but I can change my job. I can change my company.

[00:12:13] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah that’s a very enlightening approach, isn’t it? Okay so you’ve laid out what the problem is. I think this question may be not particularly relevant, but I would be interested to know. Why do you find this to be so important a cause? I mean it’s obvious the answer to that, isn’t it? But I want to hear you express in your own words why you’ve attached yourself to this and why you believe it’s important.

[00:12:36] Pooja Derashri: DEIB basically means we are making a big circle of friends where everyone is invited, treated fairly and feels like they are one of them. And it is important because when people work, play, and live together with love and respect, then the world becomes a happier and stronger place for everyone.

When we talk about open source projects, open source projects make sure that everyone is included and feels they belong to this community. It encourages other people to come and share their skills.

So it is important basically because our world will be more happier, stronger, and people live with peace and harmony. If they are not biased, they are living together with respect. All person are welcomed.

[00:13:29] Nathan Wrigley: What a lovely answer. I’m really quite touched by that, that’s beautiful. The next thing that you wanted to talk about is really interesting to me, because I haven’t given this too much thought. And it’s the idea that the problem may not be something that people are necessarily conscious of. And in the share notes that you’ve shared with me, you’ve talked about this thing called unconscious bias. And I have an intuition as to what you’re meaning there but I’d like you to explain that. What is unconscious bias? Let’s delve into that a little bit.

[00:14:01] Pooja Derashri: Basically, a sneaky or hidden friend in your mind, brain. Who sometimes make a decision for you, without you even realising it. For example, imagine your favorite color is blue. Sometimes without thinking much, you choose blue color in everything, because your brain automatically likes them. What if that happens with people not color? If your mind is unconsciously like a certain kind of people then you will be not inclusive in environment.

[00:14:35] Nathan Wrigley: So the idea being that, and I guess we can all admit to this in many aspects of our lives, we have things that instinctively, we can’t quite necessarily understand why, there are certain things that we are drawn to. The taste of a particular meal, a particular color, the kind of vacation that you want to go on, the kind of things that you like to do in your spare time.

We have all of these biases, that have crept into our lives over time, and we may not be aware of them but they impact the decisions that we make. So we may feel that we’re being equal and thoughtful, and we’re giving everybody the greatest opportunity possible. But somehow, somewhere, our brain is stepping in and making a slightly different decision.

So if that’s the case, how do you spot your unconscious bias? Because, by definition, it’s unconscious. You’re unaware that it’s happening, but clearly there must be a way of short circuiting that problem, and figuring out, okay take a step back, have a think about that, was that the right decision? What’s the conversation that you need to have with yourself or your colleagues, or whatever it may be?

[00:15:38] Pooja Derashri: Yeah. When you or your colleague indicate that you are facing unconscious biased to someone, for example, I will explain this with a core contributor example. Like imagine two programmers submitting code changes to a project. One programmer is well known to the community, and the other is new and less known, less famous.

Due to our unconscious bias, the community might pay more attention to the code changes from the well known programmer, assuming that they are of higher quality. But it is not like that. Your newcomer can be a good coder and he might of submitted a nice or similar coding. This can lead to the new programmer’s contribution being overlooked or undervalued.

If we are doing this kind of bias then we are not doing intentionally. This is something unconsciously we are doing, if we say about in open source. So when someone indicates this to us, first we should accept that we are becoming a biased person for some particular coder, or some particular person. Then we should self realise that how we can give both of them a fair chance by looking into their code or by giving them fair opportunities.

[00:16:59] Nathan Wrigley: It’s very difficult, isn’t it, to be as reflective as that. So I would imagine that in almost any unconscious bias that you may have, be it towards code or, you know the kind of food that you like, there is something very deep in that. And so when somebody points it out that you have a bias, sometimes the shutters go up if you like, and you feel that that’s a, well I guess you could describe it as a personal attack.

You’ve been biased there. You’ve clearly exhibited some bias. It’s not always straightforward to admit to yourself that you have these biases. And so I guess that’s the enterprise that we’re going to discuss now. How do we build an inclusive culture? In which people are able to recognise that, yes they have biases, yes they need to pay attention to that, or at least listen to other people’s opinions.

So let’s move on to that. Your third point, if you like, building inclusive cultures. Before we get into the meat and the bones of that, I’d like to ask what you think broadly about how WordPress as a community is doing with all of this. Because it feels like at the moment this is a particularly hot topic, for want of a better word. It feels like it’s getting lots of coverage, lots of endeavors are being made.

I’m not making the claim that everything is perfect, but it feels like this is a conversation which is becoming increasingly normal. We’re constantly being told about this and we’re constantly alert and aware of this. So, how do you think we do as a community, the WordPress community? What can we do, and how are we doing?

[00:18:32] Pooja Derashri: Actually in my perspective taking the DEIB initiative doesn’t mean just ticking the boxes. It is all about where people feel they are among all of us. And nurturing the community of where everyone feels respected, valued, and their voices are heard. As you said, this is already a hot topic that is discussed everywhere in the community right now.

Few of the initiatives, in my opinion, are very great, WordPress community is taking. Like WordPress 6.4 release, it is lead by all women, and non binary people. So that many underrepresented people will get a chance to be part of the release squad, in spite of their background or something.

In another way, if we speak about workshop, that is a great initiative. Like Jill Binder is doing workshops on diversity in every part of the world. And for a few years Jill Binder has been running a workshop, and promoting and uplifting diverse people who are not so comfortable in public speaking, but are expert in their respective fields. There she’s uplifting them, and creating an inclusive environment. So they feel comfortable, and can deliver their talk, and can be a part of this WordPress family.

And one of the great examples, great initiatives taken by Birgit Olzem, she submitted a proposal for forming an official Make WordPress DEIB team, so that DEIB can be implemented in every aspect of WordPress, with every WordPress Make team, and can align with other make teams.

This will be discussed in the community summit. I guess today this is going to be discussed. I must say I’m really excited, what happened and what the outcome and decision was made on this topic. And I would be really happy if this team was to be in existence.

And if you heard about a month ago, there was a mentorship program initiated by Hari Shanker. Initiatives taken by Hari Shanker started a project called Mentorship Program, Contributor Mentorship Program. In this a dedicated mentor is assigned to a mentee, or what we say, new contributor who wants to contribute to WordPress, but doesn’t know how to contribute, how to start.

So the mentor can guide them, and help them to onboard as a contributor. Basically they are creating a path for them to feel included in this environment and get settled. As soon as they join they feel belonging. They have a sense of belonging in this WordPress community as soon as they join.

So it was great I must say. It was a pilot project but it was a great success. So many contributers who are now regularly contributing to the WordPress projects, and bringing their fresh ideas and innovation to that. So these are a few examples or initiatives community is taking now.

[00:21:55] Nathan Wrigley: How do you feel then about how the WordPress community is doing? I should add that I will link in the show notes to the make.wordpress.org piece which is talking about the establishment of a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging team. And there’s also, as I said, an episode with Birgit and Jill which you can find in the WP Tavern podcast archive if you want to go a little bit deeper, but I will link to those.

How do you feel that wordPress as a community is doing in comparison to other parts of the tech industry? Do you feel that WordPress is perhaps at the cutting edge? Or are we taking our cues from other communities which have been there, done that, tackled this problem before us?

It feels a lot of the things that WordPress is doing are fairly innovative. So we are having to create, as a community, these things for ourselves. But I could be wrong about that. So perhaps we could just have a chat about whether WordPress is at the vanguard of this or not.

[00:23:00] Pooja Derashri: Yes, in my opinion if we go back five or ten years back in WordPress community then the WordPress community was not that diverse. But in the past few years the community is taking diversity very seriously, and taking a great initiative so every person all across the globe can share their feelings, or share their ideas, and they are implemented.

I’m taking one of my example, when I joined the training team in 2019, the team was gearing up for the initial WordPress launch. Then Courtney Robertson and Hauwa Abashiya was the team rep at that time. And I was like, I was having a coding background, I don’t know about how content works, and how I can contribute and help in that. They helped me in a lot in onboarding to the training team, and they helped me to learn the process. And soon after I got involved and Learn WordPress launched.

After that we worked hard on the training team to make it as diverse across the globe. That time from basically APAC region, there was not much contribution. So we created an inclusive environment in team, everyone can come and ask everything. We were available. We all work from different parts of the world. So we can say we were available 24 hours at that time.

We were trying our best to treat everyone equally, no matter where they are from. At that time I started APAC meetings to boost the contribution in this region. We run some workshops to explain what the training team, and what it does.

I understand the true meaning of how a diverse team can work together to raise awareness and bring all other members on board, and then they can become a part of the regular contribution.

[00:25:09] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah thank you. The fifth part that I’ve got written down here in our shared show notes is your desire to make sure that underrepresented voices are empowered. And I wonder if you could expand on that a little bit. What was it that you were meaning there? Who are you meaning by underrepresented? What are the things that need to be done in order to empower those voices?

[00:25:35] Pooja Derashri: So it depends. If we talk about the tech world, basically in the programming field there are more male coders involved in comparison. Not like I’m saying all programmers are male, but in comparison to that there are more male representative are there.

The lack of representation can be based on various factors just like gender, race, ethnicity, age, geographic location. There can be a more diverse perspective and less inclusive community that can be underrepresented. Few examples like female minorities, people of color, non English speakers, developing countries, accessibility advocates.

One more example can be non technical roles, LGBTQ+ individuals. It’s important to address the underrepresented of these groups to ensure that the WordPress community is diverse, inclusive, and welcoming to everyone. No matter who they are and what background they came from. As a community, our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion can include targeted outreach, like some mentorship programs, creating a safe space, providing them resources if they want.

Your question was, how can we empower the underrepresented voices? It’s crucial for creating a more diverse and inclusive environment in community, or in an organisation, or in industries, including open source or WordPress community. We can amplify their achievements like recognising and highlighting their contributions, and provide them equal opportunities and their voices are heard in bigger roles.

We can provide diverse leadership. We can create a safe space for them so they feel comfortable in speaking, or in putting their skills in front of everyone. Basically a long term commitment, empowering in underrepresented voices is an ongoing effort. It requires consistent dedication, and a commitment to sustainable change.

[00:28:02] Nathan Wrigley: I’m curious in your last little portion there you mentioned quite a few different things. When I hear conversations around diversity and inclusion and DEIB in general, there are certain topics which come into my mind, and it might be things in the community which I’ve heard of recently. So I don’t know, it might be that there’s equal representation at WordPress events, that we make sure that the speaker lineup is diverse.

But curious there that you listed out quite a few other things as well. So for example, just geographical, the spread of where you are on the planet. You need to think perhaps differently depending on where you’re based, and the metrics by which you would measure how you’re doing in this sphere may be different in, for example, India than it would be where I am in the UK.

So it doesn’t feel like there’s one size fits all. There’s no standard operating procedure for making sure this is all done correctly. Different parts of the world may be on a different journey and have a different trajectory, and have different things that they need to focus on. Would you say that’s true?

[00:29:10] Pooja Derashri: Yes, different parts of countries may have different perceptions regarding diversity. I agree with your point that our WordPress related events are focusing on diverse speaker lineup. If we check our WordCamp US speaker lineup, that is much diverse. And similarly in WordCamp Asia, where I was part of speaker organising teams, we put our full efforts in creating a diverse speaker lineup. So yeah, I completely add with your point. We might have different perceptions, we might have different geographical location. There are different means of diversity.

[00:29:50] Nathan Wrigley: Now inevitably when this kind of conversation comes around, there are always people in the community who have a very different opinion. And they have the opinion that, well really I’m only here for the code. I want to be able to download the WordPress code base, I want to be able to use WordPress, I want to make it the foundation of my business and so on and so forth.

And they push back and they say look conversations like this, they’re not relevant. It’s code, that’s all it is to me. What do you say to them? Clearly you would have a different opinion but, how do we get those people interested, and make it so that they feel that this is important? Because I feel that there’s quite a few members of the community who just say oh, can we just concentrate on the code? We don’t need to be worried too much about all these other tangential things.

[00:30:41] Pooja Derashri: If we talk about specifically WordPress, there is nothing we can only do with code. There are other things as well like non code contribution. There are other teams, other contributors that are putting in their efforts to make it a successful project. Like a Polyglots team is putting so many efforts into converting WordPress projects into the other languages, so it can be used by so many other people.

Similarly if we talk about docs team. Docs team is not putting coding efforts, but they are working on providing documentation so everyone can understand the process. Understand how to use WordPress, how you can build something on it, and how you can contribute.

So basically it is not about you can only do it with code. Diversity in terms of every aspect in non code contribution also matters. The whole community came from coding, non coding and other. All the people came together and built a community. Not only one person or one kind of people, like all coders can build a community. It should be a collective effort and it should be a collective output in my opinion.

[00:32:03] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah thank you, I think that was really nicely put. A good explanation of the problem at hand. Yeah that’s brilliant. Thank you.

If we were to be a listener to this podcast and some of the messages that you’ve talked about click with us, and we think, yeah everything that Pooja said, that’s vitally important. I’m not involved in it yet. I’d like to be more involved with it. I wonder if you could give us some pointers as to how you might get involved. Perhaps you could tell us about places that we could go. I can link to anything that you mention in the show notes, so they’ll all be in there. But also maybe you could highlight some of the people who are doing good work in this area.

So there’s obviously, you know you, yourself. But you mentioned Birgit Olzem and you’ve also mentioned Jill Binder, there’s a couple of other voices. But maybe there’s some other literature that you can point us in the direction of. Some websites, some project or endeavour that WordPress itself is doing, so that we can dig into this a little bit more.

[00:33:03] Pooja Derashri: Yes. I would like to mention the mentorship program lead by Hari Shanker. More contributors from diverse community come and join the WordPress project. It is a nice initiative in my opinion.

The WordPress six point release, they can join the WordPress six point release Slack channel and people will go through the process of how release works, and how, if they want to be a part of Core. There is not only they can part of Core by just coding. There are so many other areas like testing, like documentation, marketing, content training team. There are so many other teams they can also join.

Courtney Robertson is also raising awareness about diversity and she is putting so much effort into onboarding to people from different parts of the world. So yeah these are the few things I would like to mention.

[00:34:00] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, that’s great. Thank you very much. And on a more personal note, if somebody has listened to this and they would like to make contact with you. Do you have a web page or a social media profile that you would point people towards?

[00:34:17] Pooja Derashri: I’m available on Twitter at PoojaDerashri, the same handle as my name, P O O J A D E R A S H R I. I’m available on Make WordPress Slack channel. So if anyone wants to contact me they can contact me through Twitter or Make Slack WordPress channel.

[00:34:38] Nathan Wrigley: Well Pooja, thank you for joining me today. I think I have asked all of the questions that I wish to ask. I’ll just end by giving you the opportunity, if there was anything else that you wanted to add. If not I will say thank you very much for joining us and giving us some really important information about this really important subject. So over to you if there’s anything that I missed.

[00:35:00] Pooja Derashri: No actually you have covered everything very well and I think there is nothing I would like to mention in hand. Just one thing I would like to state here, I heard in one of the workshops by Jill Binder that many underrepresented are experts. She shared in one of the workshops where people sometimes have a misconception that there are two different type of people, like WP experts and the underrepresented. But there is not something like that. My personal conception was changed after hearing her workshop that she stated that many underrepresented people are also experts.

[00:35:45] Nathan Wrigley: Okay thank you. Pooja Derashri, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. I really appreciate it.

[00:35:51] Pooja Derashri: Thank you. Thank you so much

On the podcast today we have Pooja Derashri.

Pooja is a co-founder of WPVibes, a plugin development company based in India. With a passion for WordPress, Pooja has been actively involved in the community since 2013. Her journey as a contributor began in 2017, when she attended her first local WordCamp. Her expertise and dedication have earned her various key roles in the WordPress ecosystem. She currently serves as a co-team rep for the training team and GTE for the Hindi locale. In addition, she holds key positions in the WordPress release squad for versions 6.3 and 6.4, where she heads up the test team.

Pooja shares her insights on the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within the WordPress community, and explores how you don’t need to be a coder to be a part of the community and all that it is.

We discuss the work of teams like Polyglots, who focus on translating WordPress projects into different languages, and Docs, who provide much needed documentation to help users understand and contribute to the platform. These initiatives alone make it clear that WordPress is reliant on non-coding contributions, and there are more ways to contribute than ever before.

I ask Pooja about her experiences with diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry, and she reflects on the challenges she has faced, discussing the importance of recognising and addressing unconscious biases. She shares her insights on the need for training and workshops that empower diverse individuals to contribute and speak up within the WordPress community.

We delve into Birgit Olzem’s proposal to form an official DEIB team within WordPress, aiming to implement diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging throughout the whole community. I express my excitement about the potential outcome of this proposal, and we think about how WordPress compares to other parts of the tech industry.

We explore the various initiatives and efforts being made to build a more inclusive WordPress culture. From mentorship programs, to targeted outreach and safe spaces, we uncover the ways in which underrepresented voices are being uplifted.

If you’re interested in creating a more inclusive community, this episode is for you.

Useful links mentioned in the podcast

Jukebox Podcast #94 – Birgit Olzem and Jill Binder on Creating a Diverse and Sustainable WordPress Community

Training team

Pooja’s Twitter

Links supplied by Pooja in relation to the podcast

HeroPress by Topher DeRosia

Yoast Diversity Fund

Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship

The WP Community Collective by Courtney Robertson, Sé Reed, and Katie Adams Farrell

Underrepresented in Tech by Allie Nimmons and Michelle Frechette

WP Speakers by Michelle Frechette

Women in WP Show by Amy Masson,  Tracy Apps, and Angela Bow

DEIB Make WordPress team proposal by Birgit Olzem

Diversity Workshops by Jill Binder

Contributor Mentorship Program by  Hari Shanker

Go with WP podcast by the Nepal Community

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