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Ewloe, United Kingdom
Writing, tweeting, debating and occasionally getting a little over-excited about 3D Printing. But always aiming to keep it real!

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Yes, We'll Keep Blabbing on about this Issue of Diversity ..... It Matters!

The boredom of an admin catch-up day has been completely turned on its head by an interesting and recurring theme today — diversity!

It started with a tweet I was tagged in this morning, pointing out one of an increasing number of lists where diversity is overlooked (at best) or considered irrelevant (at worst). This particular list was compiled by Disruptor Daily, and featured 25 individuals considered to be the Top 3D Printing Influencers that You Should Be Following on Twitter.” Now, to be clear, I am not disputing the merits of any of the individuals on that list, but as was pointed out, it’s disappointing that of the 25 only two were women.

I felt simultaneously honoured and fraudulent to be tagged in that tweet, there are many many other women that deserve to be there, and some of them were tagged in the comments thread, thankfully.

Peter then followed up on the conversation:

Moreover, I was literally cheering (and laughing out loud) when Louise Diggers added her comment:

And later:

Then later today, by coincidence (or maybe not) I received a text highlighting the composition of the TCT Hall of Fame nominees for 2018, announced earlier this morning, which I had missed amid mountains of emails, phone calls, invoices and accounts following a week of R&R. Requesting anonymity, this person was more than a little hacked off at the fact that said composition is all “old white men.” In addition, my source pointed out, the panel of judges for the TCT awards this year comprises 26 individuals, only three of whom are women. In slightly more heated language, with a couple of expletives thrown in for good measure, my source made the point that this does nothing to support the issue of diversity in this industry.

As with the list from earlier in the day, when you look at these nominees, it is very hard to dispute the merit or the achievements of each individual. And, to be frank, I don’t. You’ve got the inventor of SLS, the LEAP engine nozzle brain and so on. These are all major breakthroughs in the 3D printing industry that deserve credit and recognition. One issue this raises is the fact that this probably comes down to legacy, in that the opportunities that were afforded to white, middle aged, probably middle class men decades ago were not afforded to other groups by the same measure, and this is one, singular manifestation of the results of that. In terms of opportunity, there is evidence to suggest things are slowly changing; slow being the operative word. The results of this change will likely take even longer.

However, the TCT judging panel does open itself up to some pointed questions and criticism, particularly for an organisation that pays lip service to diversity. We all need to go beyond the lip service and turn it into action. Hence, why I’m writing this.

And to be clear, these are just the two examples that came into focus today. This is not a witch hunt – just the raising of an issue that needs continued focus, wherever it arises, until we get somewhere close to equality!

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