I took the initiative to do this after the comments and conversation on our last community call.
Since the start, the Governance Working Group (GWG) had gave some hard thoughts on how to transpose those principles to the Governance structure.
Our worries were around set a way to avoid that the Community Council was composed of people from the same background, culture, social group, etc.
At first, we thought the council could be separated from regions. But we decided not to set this as a rule because GOSH regions are not yet defined, and some regions are more organized than others. The background diversity (ONG, not-affiliated, academia, etc.) is something we wanted too, but since there are so many other criteria to be consider, we let it as an intention. Both of this sort of diversity we don’t know how to ensure.
Spoiler for who didn’t attend the community call: We proposed a quota system where 4 of the 7 people elected has to be from “social minorities”/“disadvantaged groups”. The other 3 will be the remain more voted. The person will self-identify as part of a social minority, and no one will check or validate (unless is something absurd that is clearly done only for fit on the quota). This has several problems that we don’t know how to fix, so please help.
I will share some of the thoughts we had, and my opinions about it. So all the above is my responsibility, not from the GWG group, and explains my understanding of some of our choices. Also, none of this is “fixed”, it can be changed, and that’s why I’m sharing it. I ask your help and opinion on it, so we can solve this together.
One of our problems is the diversity of categories, groups, that can be called “social minorities”/“disadvantaged groups”. There are several groups we have to consider (in portuguese I think is called “marcadores sociais de diferença”): class (economical background), race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disabilities, in some cases even religion, and more.
So we can’t compare them, can’t assign a score to each of them.
The next level is to consider that the social disadvantages differ in each country. Some criteria are “global”, for example, being a women, or with a non heteronormative expressions of gender. But something that is a disadvantage in one country can even be an advantage in other (example: being a muslim). Other disavadntages are so local, but not less “strong” and “damageable”, that I, a white-latino-american-woman, have no idea of the existence, so I won’t “list” it, or even understand it.
So we can’t really set a global list of social minorities or disadvantages groups. And again, we can’t compare them.
Even the definition is blurred. We decided to use “social minorities” because they are groups that are not minorities on number, but on social and political influence. Another expression that can be used is “disadvantaged groups”; it represent groups that have been, historically, wronged. Both of them represent groups that have structural/colective (laws, culture, etc.) social and economical disadvantages that influence the individual opportunities. But since we can’t really define and list this groups, setting a name is complex. Please engaged on this discussion and suggest an expression, or share what you understand from those expressions.
The “self-identification” system was intended to avoid the need of a “label committee”, people that assign label to others. That’s not something we want. Neither a “validation committee” seems good. It seems compelling, not good, how can you verify if some one is gay? We have only their word, so is not something I want to set. However, can’t this be used by malicious people? Or even by people that didn’t properly understood the concept. Or someone that understand that being a white-men is disadvantaged on current societies . . . . So, for the first election we won’t check anything (unless is absurd, as the last example). But, how can we ensure this quota will serve for broaden our equity, not the opposite?
Some mistakes will happen, but we can predict some of them if we have more heads on it.
PS: since the governance proposal is almost finished, maybe we won’t be able to do major changes on this quota system, but we can start the conversation about it before the election starts.