We were dismayed to learn last week that Ada Initiative Executive Director Valerie Aurora and at least one other woman were publicly advertised without their consent as “ambassadors” (screenshot, current page) for the “Innovating Women” book co-authored by Vivek Wadhwa. This, in combination with our contributions to the book, may be interpreted as implying a partnership between Ada Initiative and Vivek Wadhwa that does not exist. If such a partnership existed, Vivek Wadhwa would have violated the Ada Initiative sponsor/partner policy by making public comments resulting in the silencing of voices of women in technology. Wadhwa’s actions are counter to the Ada Initiative’s mission to increase the participation and status of women in open technology and culture.
At no time did Aurora consent to be listed as an “ambassador” for the book. She was included because she answered interview questions from one of the co-authors of the book in July 2013 on the subject of harassment of women at technology conferences and what the Ada Initiative is doing to stop it. No one asked for her permission to put her on a list of ambassadors for the book. We appreciate the swift removal of her name from this page after she requested it, but her name and that of at least one other woman should never have been on there in the first place.
While we stand by the [trigger warning: sexual assault] content of the interview Valerie gave that is included in the book, we deeply regret collaborating in the creation of a book whose lead author has engaged in behavior resulting in the silencing the voices of women in technology. In the future, we will vet interview requests more thoroughly.
Women in technology are perfectly capable of speaking for themselves. We recommend anyone seeking an expert speaker or writer on the subject of women in technology seek out women in technology who have studied the subject (start with the Geek Feminism list of geek feminists willing to be interviewed by the press).