All documents in this repository are in draft status, and work is expected to continue on improvements, additions, and corrections.

Strong DEI (AKA: DEI Handbook)#

Curriculum Development#

Yaa Nuamah Kusi, Anita Ihuman, Benjamin Bengfort, Pavithra Eswaramoorthy, Kamila Stepniowska

Module 0: Who this handbook is for?#

  • Project Overview

  • Purpose and Objectives – Providing valuable skills and knowledge to projects and community leaders in DEI, meeting a recognized need within NumFOCUS.

  • Target Audience – OSS Maintainers, Sustainers, and Leadership

Module 1: Introduction to DEI in Open Source#

  • Defining Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity: Clarification of key terms such as inclusivity and equity.

Example: Providing definitions of equity and inclusivity in the context of open-source communities.

Diversity: Diversity means having a variety of different people with various backgrounds, experiences, and characteristics, such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and abilities. Equity: Equity talks about removing barriers and providing support to ensure that everyone, regardless of their differences, has fair and equal opportunities and access to resources. Inclusion: Inclusion means creating an environment where all individuals, irrespective of their differences feel welcomed, valued, and respected.

DEI talks about embracing and valuing differences, ensuring fairness, and creating a sense of belonging for all people, no matter who they are or where they come from. Since Open-source software relies on collaboration, transparency, and community engagement, DEI principles are a crucial element in the health of open-source projects.

  • Understanding the Importance of DEI in Open Source: Explanation of why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are critical in open-source projects.

Example: Discussing how diverse perspectives lead to more robust and innovative solutions in open-source software development.

  • Benefits of Diverse and Inclusive Communities: Exploring the advantages of having diverse contributors and an inclusive community.

Example: Highlighting research that shows how diverse teams are more creative and better at problem-solving.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in open-source projects will foster innovation, ensure representation, broaden the user base, facilitate community growth, reduce bias and discrimination, and have a global impact. GitHub’s 2017 survey found that open-source projects with more diverse contributor teams are more likely to be successful.

Studies like the DIAL initiative (Digital Impact Alliance) emphasize how empowering and encouraging more women to participate in open source women drives healthy, inclusive engagement.

A research report by the World Economic Forum underscores the profound significance of fostering diversity and inclusion within the workplace. This study also highlights that proactively embracing DEI practices unlocks the full potential of an organization, drives innovation, and maintains a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace

  • A note on accessibility

Module 2: Creating an Inclusive Community#

  • Recognizing Bias and Stereotypes: Raising awareness of unconscious biases and stereotypes. – Conscious bias (also known as explicit bias) and – Unconscious bias (also known as implicit bias) – Microaggression

Example: Discussing how biases can affect project decisions, such as code review.

  • Leadership’s Role in Promoting DEI: Discussing the responsibilities of project leaders in championing DEI.

Example: Sharing stories of successful project leaders who actively promote diversity.

  • Addressing Common Misconceptions:Identifying and dispelling common misconceptions about DEI.

Example: Debunking the myth that DEI efforts lower merit-based standards.

Module 3: Code of Conduct, DEI Policies, and Governance#

  • Foundational Strategies for Building Inclusive Communities: Practical strategies for fostering inclusivity.

Example: Offering tips on how to moderate online forums to ensure a respectful environment for all.

  • Code of Conduct and Community Guidelines: The importance of having clear guidelines.

Example: Providing a sample code of conduct that projects can adapt.

  • CoC Creation and Enforcement – Anti-Discrimination Guidelines

  • Handling Incidents and Conflict Resolution: Strategies for addressing incidents and conflicts within the community. – Conflict Resolution Protocols

Example: Simulating scenarios and discussing appropriate responses.

  • Promoting Healthy Online and Offline Environments: Tips for maintaining a respectful and inclusive atmosphere.

Example: Sharing guidelines for online meetings and discussions to ensure everyone’s voice is heard.

  • DEI Policy Statement

  • DEI-friendly OSS Governance

Module 4: Inclusive Language & Communication#

  • Language and Communication Guidelines: Establishing guidelines for respectful and inclusive communication.

Example: Providing a list of words or phrases to avoid and offering alternatives.

  • Effective Communication in Diverse Communities: Techniques for communicating effectively in a diverse environment. – Inclusive language in documentation – Inclusive language in code base – Eliminating language barriers

Example: Sharing communication best practices that promote inclusivity, such as active listening and using inclusive pronouns.

  • Cultivating Respectful Online Conversations: Tips for fostering respectful and constructive online discussions.

Example: Discussing moderation strategies for online forums to maintain a positive atmosphere.

  • Chat platform Inclusivity:

Module 5: Outreach and Recruitment#

  • Strategies for Diverse Contributor Experience (Recruitment, Onboarding, Support, and Off-boarding): Methods to attract contributors from diverse backgrounds. – Cross-ref:

Example: Discussing how to collaborate with organizations or communities that focus on diversity in tech to identify potential contributors.

  • Mentorship and Onboarding Programs: Establishing mentorship initiatives to support newcomers.

Example: Sharing success stories of mentorship programs that have helped individuals from underrepresented groups thrive in open-source projects.

  • Building Partnerships with Underrepresented Groups: Strategies for forming partnerships with organizations or communities representing underrepresented groups.

Example: Showcasing how a project partnered with a women-in-tech group to encourage female participation.

Module 6: Intersectionality and Identity#

  • Understanding Intersectionality: Explanation of intersectionality and its relevance to DEI.

Example: Sharing stories that illustrate how multiple aspects of identity (e.g., gender, race, disability) can intersect and impact experiences.

  • Recognizing and Valuing Different Identities: The importance of recognizing and respecting various identities.

Example: Highlighting the significance of acknowledging cultural holidays and observances within the community.

  • Fostering Inclusion for All: Strategies for ensuring inclusion for individuals with diverse identities. – Allyship – Providing access – Sponsoring minority groups

Example: Discussing accommodations for people with disabilities, such as making project documentation accessible.

Module 7: Developing Action Plans#

  • Creating a DEI Action Plan for Your Project or Community: Guiding participants through the process of developing a customized DEI action plan.

Example: Providing a template for creating an action plan with specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.

  • Setting DEI Goals and Objectives: How to establish concrete DEI goals for your project.

Example: Defining a goal to increase the percentage of contributors from underrepresented groups by a certain percentage over the next year.

  • Setting SMART DEI Goals: Explaining the concept of SMART goals and how to apply them to DEI initiatives.

Example: Walking through the process of setting a SMART goal, such as increasing the number of underrepresented group contributors by 20% in the next six months.

  • Where to get DEI-related Support: list of organizations that provide DEI consulting services

Module 8: Assessment and Benchmarking#

  • Project DEI Assessment – Surveys

  • Benchmarking Against Industry Standards

  • Implementing and Evaluating DEI Initiatives: Strategies for implementing, tracking progress, and evaluating the effectiveness of DEI initiatives. – Data Collection and Analysis

Example: Sharing tools and metrics for measuring the impact of DEI efforts, such as tracking diversity in project contributions over time.

Module 9: Engaging with NumFOCUS DEI Initiatives#

  • Collaborating with NumFOCUS DEI Resources: How to leverage NumFOCUS DEI resources and support.

Example: Demonstrating how projects can access DEI training materials provided by NumFOCUS.

  • Leveraging NumFOCUS DEI Networks and Support: Exploring opportunities to connect with other NumFOCUS projects and leaders interested in DEI.

Example: Describing how to participate in DEI-focused events and forums within the NumFOCUS community.

  • Building Synergy between NumFOCUS Projects and DEI Goals: Strategies for aligning your project’s goals with NumFOCUS DEI objectives.

Example: Discussing how a project can integrate DEI goals into its annual planning process.

Module 10: Case Studies and Best Practices#

  • Real-world Case Studies of Successful DEI Initiatives: Examining examples of projects that have successfully implemented DEI initiatives.

Example: Presenting a case study of a project that significantly increased its diversity through targeted outreach and mentorship.

  • Best Practices from NumFOCUS Projects: Sharing best practices and lessons learned from NumFOCUS projects.

Example: Exploring how NumFOCUS projects have benefited from DEI efforts and sharing those insights.

  • Learning from Failures and Challenges: Understanding common challenges and learning from DEI-related failures.

Example: Analyzing a situation where a project faced backlash for a misstep and discussing how to prevent similar incidents.

Appendix I: Accessibility#

Appendix II: Mentorship Best Practices#


  • List of all the resources used to create this handbook