Retaining the Advantage of a diverse HPC Workforce: How to deal with Micro-aggression

Manos Farsarakis, EPCC

At this year’s ISC conference in Frankfurt Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) has teamed up with ARCHER Diversity and other interested parties to run a Birds of a Feather session focusing on micro-aggression in the context of creating and retaining diverse workforce. “Retaining the Advantage of a diverse HPC Workforce: How to deal with Micro-aggression” will take place 27thJune 2018 at ISC’18.

The aim of the session is to raise awareness on the issue of micro-aggression, offer first-hand experience from different perspectives and encourage a re-evaluation of what it means to create an inclusive workplace.

WHAT is micro-aggression?

Although, the term micro-aggression has been around for over 10 years it is surprisingly obscure and controversial. However, the impact of microaggression is potentially significant to already marginalised groups. The topic is not that well researched but has many definitions of varying extent. The BoF will focus on how the casual degradation of any marginalized group impacts the workforce during workplace interactions. We will discuss how creating a welcoming environment for all is key to retaining a diverse and effective workforce. Furthermore, we will encourage self-examination, challenging the individual instinct that all we do is “good” and “moral”.

Why should everyone care?

The compound effect of these seemingly minor acts of aggression can have a significant impact on an individual both personally as well as professionally. Motivation is a key contributor to an individual’s workplace productivity. We will use personal experience on both sides to investigate avenues for both self-improvement and extending this knowledge to the workplace.

What can be done?

Although it’s not about pointing fingers, instances of micro-aggression are often not intended, so dealing with them without pointing them out is extremely difficult. It’s not logical to expect someone to change their behaviour if they are not aware of it. Therefore, it’s important to vocalize things that bother us. Creating a working environment of openness, respect and appreciation is necessary.

As an observer: Speak out

As a receiver: Speak out

As a giver: Keep an open mind

As an employer: Encourage discussion

How to get involved?

Micro-aggression is not something that happens in professional environments only, so we invite everyone attending ISC18 to attend the session, regardless of their job title, position or affiliation.

The “Retaining the Advantage of a diverse HPC Workforce: How to deal with Microaggression” session will take places on Wednesday 27th June 2018 at 11:30 in the Pikkolo room at the Frankfurt Messe during ISC’18 in Frankfurt. Everyone is welcome to attend and contribute to the discussion.

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