2019 NCWIT Summit: Deborah Keyek-Franssen – Critical Listening Guide

During the 2019 NCWIT Summit, we sat down with several plenary speakers, workshop presenters, and other change leaders from the NCWIT community to discuss their perspectives on valuing diversity, changing systems (as opposed to “fixing” underrepresented individuals), recognizing bias, and more. The end result was a series of short videos that not only captures what drives these change leaders in their inclusion efforts, but also highlights research-based recommendations from the vast collection of NCWIT resources.

In this video, Deborah Keyek-Franssen talks about the Critical Listening Guide, which helps people identify common misunderstandings that surface when people talk about how to increase the participation of women, and provides prompts for exploring or challenging problematic statements. With this preparation, Keyek-Franssen suggests, we can be better equipped to have most effective conversations about creating change in the tech field.


DEBORAH KEYEK-FRANSSEN: I’ve long been a fan of NCWIT resources on critical listening, especially when it concerns bias.

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DEBORAH KEYEK-FRANSSEN: When people really focus on “What kind of bias am I hearing,” then it makes a big difference in how they’re able to, and how comfortable they feel interacting with people who make possibly some problematic statements that are evidence of bias. It is often unconscious, and if it isn’t for people stepping up and saying, “Can we talk about that a little bit further? Can we address that statement that you just made? Do you really mean that? Because it seems to me you really want to make a difference…” This is the only way we can stop those statements from happening and from harming individuals and entire groups of people.

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