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Making SensioLabs Connect more inclusive

An important part of our diversity initiative is to make the Symfony project and its ecosystem more inclusive. Inclusion is about promoting and sustaining a sense of belonging.

SensioLabs Connect is Symfony's social network where you can collect badges for the tasks that you complete in the Symfony community (contributing some code, attending some conference, becoming a certified developer, etc.)

While reviewing SensioLabs Connect contents and assets, it was obvious to us that some things needed changes to be more inclusive. For example, the default user avatar for those who don't upload a photo represented a middle-aged white man. There's nothing wrong with being a man, being middle-aged or being white. But it's not inclusive for other age ranges, other genders and other races and ethnicities. So we removed the default user avatar and instead enabled the random generation of pixelated avatars:

SensioLabs Connect default user avatar

The next step was the Welcome badge, which is granted as the first badge of anyone joining SensioLabs Connect. The badge said "Hey dude!". Again, there's nothing wrong with being "a dude", but how would you feel if you were a woman and the site you just joined welcomed you as a man? That's why we updated it to say "Hey you!":

SensioLabs Connect Welcome Badge

Finally, we reviewed the Symfony Community Awards badges. Some of those badges assumed that winners will always be men. It's true that almost all past winners have been men; but how can you encourage women to take part in these awards if even the badges assume that the winners will be men? So, we redesigned the badges to be neutral:

Symfony Awards badges

No doubt all these changes are baby steps towards more important diversity goals. But we believe that you can do great things by doing lots of nice little things. If you want to join us in this initiative, step up and help us with any of the proposed tasks to improve the diversity of the Symfony project.

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As with any Open-Source project, contributing code or documentation is the most common way to help, but we also have a wide range of sponsoring opportunities.


this looks good!
> It's true that so far all past winners have been men

It's not true: Sarah Khalil, Best Evangelist 2015
@Kévin you are right! Apologies to Sarah. I've just updated the article.
As a middle-aged white man who is sort of aware of the inclusivity challenges of this world, these are things I'd not given a second thought. It is great to see these changes happen! Great work! Thanks for making this happen.
I would recommend picking gender neutral colors. There are a lot of males with very feminine colors in their avatars which, at a glance would suggest they are female. Colors and gender are deeply woven into our brains from childhood, girls wear pink and boys wear blue, we can't help but make the assumption.
I guess that you are trying to troll us, but this is the Symfony project and we treat everyone with respect (even trolls) so I'm going to answer you.

I'm afraid that your premise is wrong: colors are gender-less. Your own experience tells you that "girls wear pink and boys wear blue". That's the same experience for lots of other people ... but that's just a social construct, not a natural thing.

According to Wikipedia (, colors derive from the stimulation of cone cells in the human eye by electromagnetic radiation in the spectrum of light. Blue color for example is just a 610–670 THz electromagnetic radiation going through your eye. As you can see, there isn't any mention to gender in that description, so colors are gender-less.
I don't think Fed is trolling. You are both right though. Colors are not per se a problem. But the underlying social assumptions are.

For example: Why do you think the old Avatar is representing a middle-aged man? Because it has short hair and no female features like lipstick? Well then look at this picture of this young woman:

I think this post is quite hilarious. On one side it presents how the new inclusive genderless artwork looks. Its fine and I really appreciate the effort. But on the other side, it is totally sexist and non-inclusive by assuming pictographs of short-haired smiling faces are men, ignoring female winners (see Kevins comment) and by offending people as a troll when they don't feel well with having pink avatars (even if its only because of "social-constructs").
@Marvin you said "Why do you think the old Avatar is representing a middle-aged man?" The answer is simple: I work at the company which designed this badge. The designer who created it is my workmate. I asked and that was the answer: a middle-aged white man.
@Javier isn't your workmate's answer based on "just" social constructs as well? There aren't any statistically significant differences in head hair growth between males and females.

What is the difference between assuming that a short-haired smiling face represents a middle-aged male and assuming that pink is feminine?

I support making Symfony community more inclusive and I'm totally fine with the post itself, but the comments section looks quite peculiar (eg. explanation of what colour is).
@Kamil we're not discussing about the physical appearances of women and men. We know that the badge was a man because when we designed it, we decided to create a man. If you think that the badge was a woman, that's perfectly fine. We're not saying that you are wrong. Cheers!
Thanks for these steps that state clear message!

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