May 17, 2024

Effective software design: The role of men in debugging patriarchy in IT


Effective software design relies on integrating diverse perspectives throughout its development process. Research shows that teams with a neuro-diverse background excel in decision-making due to their ability to consider a wider range of ideas, foresee a greater variety of potential challenges, and develop more creative solutions. This becomes particularly clear in collaborative modelling for Domain-Driven Design. The inclusion of varied viewpoints enhances the ability of software models to address business problems effectively, increasing the likelihood of achieving significant product breakthroughs.

However, one social system significantly blocks the flow of development of these diverse perspectives: patriarchy. Patriarchy is a social construct where men predominantly hold power and exercise dominance in areas such as political leadership, moral authority, social privilege, and property ownership. Feminists have been actively working to challenge and change this patriarchal system for the better. Despite these efforts, the system still favours men, maintaining their dominant status, and will not evolve without their active involvement. Additionally, patriarchy limits men as well, endorsing only traits traditionally seen as ‘masculine’ and disregarding those seen as ‘feminine.’ This raises the question: how do we start the process of eMANcipation, involve men in the movement towards feminism, and as a result, improve our software design practices?

Join me in this talk as I explore patriarchy and its significant effects on software design. Drawing from personal experiences, I will discuss how patriarchy affects men and argue that for genuine equality, men need to undergo changes too. I will demonstrate how incorporating Process Work and Deep Democracy into software design can bring about the necessary transformation. By adopting the idea of role fluidity, we can start breaking down the patriarchal system in software design, ensuring that every perspective is appreciated and nurtured. You will leave with a deeper understanding of how patriarchy influences software design and practical steps you can immediately apply to foster a shift towards a more inclusive environment.


  • Ncrafts 2024 / 16-17 May 2024 / Slides

Kenny Baas-Schwegler

As a socio-technical systems thinker, agile architect, and Domain-Driven Design expert, I work with CTOs, managers, architects, and teams to change how we design software. Through facilitating and doing collaborative modeling, I catalyze organizations, teams, and groups of people to an agile architecture approach to building sustainable quality software products.

See all my slides at