A woman that as a young lady was intimidated by RMS' same routine. Choice quote:
> The sexism on display in his talks and in these comments are the
> precise reason as to why there aren't many women in free software to
> speak up, and the awkward gender ratio and propensity for male nerds to
> shout down any opposition makes it even more difficult to do so.
Bemoaning the apparently pervasive attitude that allows sexist comments to be the norm in many situations. Choice quote:
> Its all just a joke, Im sure. But Ive reached a point in my life
> where it just isnt funny to me. I browse through blogs, popular
> journals, and open source forums and mailing lists looking for ideas
> about what kind of research would be useful and interesting to the
> development community. When I run into this sort of thing, my first
> thought is that I dont want to be part of that kind of development
> community. I have every intention of staying in computer science, but
> at those moments, I know why a lot of women leave.
Yes, one person making a sexist remark in a talk doesn't cause all women to leave the community, but put it in to context, with some women encountering almost daily reminders that they are the minority and that not everyone in the community sees them as more than their gender and it adds up. "Jokes", marriage proposals, scantily clad women in technical presentations, assumptions about interests and skills, physical intimidation, marginalisation, and good old-fashioned disrespect all add up to an uninviting environment.
Yes, the problem starts early with societal pressure on women to not get in
to computers, but that just means we should value those that do make it in to our community, not subject them to the above. The "leaky pipe" effect will mean that we continue to have low numbers of female contributors.
If you are interested in other opinions on the topic I suggest you subscribe to the Geek Feminism blog. Even if you disagree about the causes, listening to smart people talk about the issues is worth a try, we might all learn something.