I wonder how it's possible to misread it so bad...
Posted Oct 4, 2007 18:23 UTC (Thu) by ekj
In reply to: I wonder how it's possible to misread it so bad...
Parent article: Yet another male perspective on women in free software
There's a problem. If females in general avoided all areas where 3-5% ("maybe even less") of the people are rude or otherwise behave in a way that you don't approve of, then there wouldn't be many human areas where women can participate.
Going to the disco ? Nope. Odds are a minority of the people there will behave rudely somehow.
Working ? Nope. Odds are you'll experience rude people. In some jobs with rather a lot of women in them, you need to interact with rather a -lot- of rude people.
Team sports of any kind ? Nope. Odds are you'll be "driven away" there too.
Go on vacation to oh, say, italy ? No chance. You'll *certainly* suffer regular sexist remarks and stupid pickup attempts regularily.
Play in a band ? No chance in hell, are you dreaming ?
The women I know participate in all of these, and more though. So clearly, your map fails to match the actual terrain. If the bar for getting more women to participate is eradicating every last rude person, then frankly, that's not doable in any forum, certainly not one that is open and tolerant. You can do it if you're say dictator over a mailing-list, but that then tends to mean driving away the large majority of free-speech loving hackers (of which there are, frankly, more than there are female hackers)
I don't see jerks getting any more support in FLOSS communities than elsewhere. There's lots of VERY jerky people tolerated in team-sports for example, if they're good in sports.
It's not a "FACT" that FLOSS-communities in general have the effect you claim they have. Some may. Too many may, even. But there's a step from that (and a large one) to claiming they do in general.
There's a difference, by the way, between claiming that women/men are -on-the-average- more/less technically skilled and claiming that women/men are more/less technically skilled. The first only claims to deal with averages, the second is a general statement, and is -untrue- unless it fits for all women/men. (or atleast close)
In short -- I don't think your core idea: that the low female participation can be explained to a large degree trough having 3-5% ("maybe even less") of participants that are socially maladapted is sound. I don't think that even comes close to explaining anything.
I do agree it's a cultural thing, though. But it's the culture of the majority, in AND OUTSIDE of floss, not the work of a few isolated guys.
I also just plain don't see the claimed distinction between FLOSS communities and say professional software development. It's possible that part genuinely is different in the USA though.
to post comments)