Posted Aug 9, 2005 16:26 UTC (Tue) by Alan_Hicks
In reply to: scientific?
Parent article: Getting in touch with the feminine side of open source (NewsForge)
my understanding is that no scientific study has ever established that this demographic trend is
innately genetic (by which people usually seem to mean "unchangeable," although the expression
of genes is dependent on environment) or if it is an artificial result of social pressures.
There have been some studies done and evidence points both ways. Yes, there are gender roles
in society. No those are not necessarily bad things. Yes there are genetic differences
between men and women that predispose them differently. No that's not necessarily a
Studies have been conducted on young children (who it is presumed are less influenced by
gender roles than older children and adults) and those studies have concluded that the brains of
boys and girls develop different. IIRC, girls tend to develop speach easier, while boys tend to
develop skills like counting and stacking blocks or LEGOS(TM) to make shapes more quickly.
You cannot ever fully remove gender roles from our consciousness, but that does not mean that
there aren't also biological traits present that influence men and women to take different paths in
life. Indeed, it is entirely possible that our gender roles are greatly affected by biological forces.
In short, I agree with the grand-parent in that ignoring biological differences is absurd, and that
we should learn that such things are not necessarily bad. On the other hand, we shouldn't use
that as an excuse to exclude women either, but I've not noticed any gender exclusion in the OSS
community beyond the "You're a grrrrrrrrrrl?! That's awesome!" posts.
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