Equality in Technology and the Code Manifesto with Kayla Daniels


One of the most talked-about talks at Laracon 2014 was a 15-minute Lightning Talk from Kayla Daniels called Equality in Technology. I’m so thrilled to have Kayla here today with a guest post about her Code Manifesto, the subject of that talk:

Kayla Daniels

A few quick facts about me: 

My name is Kayla Daniels. I’m a PHP developer originally from Colorado, now living in North Carolina. I have three kids, three cats and a wonderful husband. I cook a lot, I read a lot and I write code, you guessed it, a lot. I love traveling, eating weird stuff, learning new things, and anything pumpkin flavored. I’ve been a professional developer for about 4 years and a tinkerer since I was wee young lass.  




Code Manifesto logo

It’s a fairly well known fact that our industry is rife with discrimination. Really, it’s not only our industry, but our society as a whole. There are many different kinds of discrimination; all of them are harmful, some of them are intentional and abusive. There are a lot of people that are working hard to fix this. The Code Manifesto is my attempt to make a dent in the discrimination that has been grossly limiting us, all of us, for entirely too long. 

Simply put, the Code Manifesto is a set of values. They’re simple, easy to remember, and (should be) easy to follow. The list can be combined and boiled down into one simple idea: Respect Each Other. It’s really that simple. 

Too often I’ve read an article, or a Twitter conversation, or a Reddit post, or watched a video so chock full of hatred, disrespect, and discrimination that I end up feeling exhausted and fearful that this won’t change, or can’t change. It’s not something that can be localized to a single group of people, either. I’ve seen the same kinds of vitriol spewed from just about every demographic.

I found myself shouting out indignantly “Why can’t we all just get along!!?” The collective consciousness of the world (or just the voice in the back of my head), shouts back at me “That’d be nice, but that’s not the way it is. You can’t change it.” 

I’m not going to accept that. 

I don’t work in the industry I want to work in.

This is not the field that I would be proud to bring my children into, and that’s a damn shame. Think for a minute, about what we do for a living. You sit at your computer, you type in a bunch of what appears to be random gobbledeegook, and shazam! Problems get solved, systems get built, people’s lives are made easier and their processes are streamlined. At the end of the day, we make things work. Really, we’re kind of like magicians and that is POWERFUL. 

This should be an industry that people are JUMPING to get into. It should be one with wide open doors, willing to let any brilliant mind in and welcoming them with open arms. Notice I said brilliant minds. Not male minds, not female minds, not black or white or yellow minds, not straight or gay minds. Just brilliant minds. That’s what I aim for. I want to make this a welcoming industry for anyone passionate about being here, eager to solve problems and make magic. 

To me, building that place starts with a strong foundation in respect. 

No one deserves to be disrespected. No one deserves to feel out of place, or weird because of what they are passionate about. No one deserves to be a trophy or the token minority member. No one deserves to be told, from day one, that they are less capable. We shouldn’t do these things, and we shouldn’t tolerate them.

The most common response I’ve gotten to the Code Manifesto since I introduced it at Laracon US has been “But those are things I do anyway.” Great, you should, I’m glad you do. It’s not anything groundbreaking. It’s not anything that we probably haven’t all heard before. It is, however something that can be forgotten in the heat of the moment, or because we’re so used to interacting from the safety of our keyboard. The way we interact is important; we should all strive to keep that top of mind. 

Lastly, The Code Manifesto was designed to belong to the community that supports it. If there are things not on the list that should be, feel free to make a pull request. If there are other resources or ideas that you’d like to see come from this, please make them known. If you support it, then you own it just as much as I do, and your input is welcome. 

Read and pledge to support the Code Manifesto here.

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