Not logged in
Log in now
Create an account
Subscribe to LWN
LWN.net Weekly Edition for December 5, 2013
Deadline scheduling: coming soon?
LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 27, 2013
ACPI for ARM?
LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 21, 2013
Women don't have the same passion for open source men do? Really??
Posted Aug 27, 2009 23:29 UTC (Thu) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
Posted Aug 28, 2009 0:12 UTC (Fri) by hypatiadotca (guest, #60478)
Posted Aug 28, 2009 1:03 UTC (Fri) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
I recommend a woman who has brought up teenagers, or if they can't find one an older man who has brought up teenagers. Of course this is not an automatic qualification for being level-headed, so the corporate PR officer has to judge the candidates individually.
They have lots of hot-headed young men in their software departments. I don't generally find them qualified for the position.
Women expected to take care-taker/support/social/maternal roles
Posted Aug 28, 2009 13:31 UTC (Fri) by Skud (guest, #59840)
Posted Aug 28, 2009 18:06 UTC (Fri) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
Posted Aug 28, 2009 20:48 UTC (Fri) by hypatiadotca (guest, #60478)
The reason I your earlier statements about putting women in this position problematic is that you're basically tailgating on a particularly shitty way that women are socialized - to take responsibility for other people's feelings at the expense of any of our own, to mediate, to avoid conflict, to have poor interpersonal boundaries. These are useful forms of social conditioning for this particular purpose, yes, but they are also frustrating ones to see perpetuated as an expected role for women.
I realize this is a bit meta, I hope it makes sense :) Fundamentally, it's socialized behaviour rather than actual skill, and that's problematic.
Posted Aug 28, 2009 21:13 UTC (Fri) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
Is it not possible for a woman to do what I'm asking while maintaining internal strength? I see it as an area in which women often excel and something very powerful that they bring to the table as managers.
Posted Aug 29, 2009 11:25 UTC (Sat) by Skud (guest, #59840)
Posted Aug 29, 2009 17:29 UTC (Sat) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
Posted Aug 31, 2009 13:27 UTC (Mon) by Skud (guest, #59840)
Posted Aug 31, 2009 13:26 UTC (Mon) by Skud (guest, #59840)
As an adult, and particularly since my mid 20s, I've made a very serious effort to try and gain some social skills. It didn't come naturally to me, and I had to do it painstakingly and with lots of errors. I know other geek women who've done the same; one friend of mine treats it as a process of exploration and debugging, for example. It is absolutely possible for most people to do this (I concede that there are a small number who can't), and I don't see why men should be exempted from this.
Posted Aug 28, 2009 7:36 UTC (Fri) by koipond (guest, #60493)
What should be said instead of, "You're better at it" is that "The community could improve on it."
Posted Aug 28, 2009 18:18 UTC (Fri) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
I can't take the time to put the male programmers in the company through whatever training (or is it therapy) they need to fill this role properly. Nobody would pay for it.
So, the short-cut is to look for someone who already doesn't base his/her ego on his/her code and doesn't view communication as conflict, and who has long experience with difficult communication. Such a person often turns out to be a woman who has brought up teenagers. It works.
This isn't to say that males can't or shouldn't solve this problem.
Posted Aug 29, 2009 0:33 UTC (Sat) by maco (guest, #53641)
You end up with an inflated sense of what he knows. He ends up thinking you knows less than you do. And well...maybe you're just not 1337 enough for this group he's in. Maybe this isn't right for you. I mean, jeez, you're the same age and he's so much more advanced! You must not be good at this. That's it, this just isn't your thing. Hmm...maybe you'll go become a math teacher...
If you get past that point, you'll learn that in geek circles, overconfidence is the rule in stating your skills. You have to talk yourself up like it's a job application instead of being politely humble. It's intimidating until you realize this.
I spent the first year of university being intimidated of a group of guys in my class. Turns out we're pretty close in programming skills, and for Linux skills there's a range that I'm somewhere in the middle of.
Posted Aug 29, 2009 0:45 UTC (Sat) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
Posted Aug 31, 2009 13:34 UTC (Mon) by Skud (guest, #59840)
One very important one is to allow women to behave and communicate in ways that men do -- being assertive, self-promoting, having vigorous disagreements with people, etc -- without applying a double standard and saying that they should be nicer or watch their tone.
Another is to call out people who silence and discourage women, including people who expect women (and girls) to behave nicely as above. (This goes right down to early childhood, btw, so watch how people act around their kids!)
Another is to proactively seek out women doing good stuff and help promote their work to others, by writing about them, nominating them for awards, offering them speaking engagements, etc.
Another is to donate money or time to organisations working with girls and women who are into technology.
Now you know four more ways :)
Posted Aug 31, 2009 14:41 UTC (Mon) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
allow women to behave and communicate in ways that men do - being assertive, self-promoting, having vigorous disagreements with people, etc
Eek, no! We need to *raise* the bar for communication - not encourage others to drop theirs.
Posted Aug 31, 2009 21:16 UTC (Mon) by njs (guest, #40338)
"Raising the bar for communication" is not the same as "subject everyone to the current feminine bar" -- personally, I'm all for assertiveness, self-promotion, and vigorous disagreements, so long as they're carried out in a way that respects everyone involved. The full rules for female/feminine behavior are weird and nasty -- disagreement may have to be expressed as ostensible agreement, misunderstandings are the woman's fault, things like that. I don't think anyone wants those to be universal, least of all the women who know them best.
And the double-standard is enforced by men (mostly) who freak out if women break the rules -- i.e., men who aren't meeting reasonable standards for respectful communication. Raising the bar for them, and fixing the double standard, work out to be the same thing.
Posted Aug 31, 2009 23:22 UTC (Mon) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
"Raising the bar for communication" is not the same as "subject everyone to the current feminine bar". ... The full rules for female/feminine behavior are weird and nasty
No doubt there are many subtleties of the rules of female discourse that yet escape me, but in general it seems that females are slightly less inclined toward destructive, aggressive argumentation than men (particularly younger men). So to improve the tone in free software online communication from the (generally) young-male-like level to the female level would be an improvement. Perhaps that level again could be improved, but that's beside the point. The point is we should improve, not find a way to get women (and perhaps others) to be more comfortable with the current level.
personally, I'm all for assertiveness, self-promotion, and vigorous disagreements, so long as they're carried out in a way that respects everyone involved.
Ok, that's interesting. Why do you think that? I used to think that too, and I used to be *very* assertive and vigorous in my disagreements with people. However, with time, I've come to see these traits as actually being destructive to good debate. They tend to poison things and increase the risk that people start taking things personally. Further, these traits, I have come to think, do not bring anything positive to a debate.
Assertiveness of personality is a poor substitute for sound reasoning with supporting data, such that the argument asserts itself (to right-thinking observers at least). Vigorous disagreement (as in "direct", "forthright") has a high risk of stimulating egos into taking offence, compared a more indirect and less confrontational approach (no matter how much we'd like to ignore egos, it seems they'll always be with each of us). Etc.
However, I am probably misunderstanding your point. ;) Overall, I do not disagree with your more central point that we should be working toward some higher bar of respectful communication.
Posted Sep 1, 2009 8:17 UTC (Tue) by njs (guest, #40338)
The complaint about the double-standard has nothing to with whether women are comfortable with the current rough-and-tumble of FOSS discourse; it's about men being uncomfortable with women who are half as outspoken as the men themselves are.
Re: assertiveness, self-promotion, vigorous disagreement: Yeah, I think we're talking at cross-purposes a bit. By assertiveness I mean, for instance, speaking up when one has something to say; there's nothing wrong with pointing out one's accomplishments when relevant (rather than as a way to knock others down); and as for vigorous disagreement, it is entirely possible to present one's thoughts in a forthright manner without attacking anyone's ego. "Thanks for the patch! The current version has a few problems that prevent me applying it as is; could you look over the following and see what you think? ..." All those are, I think, good things.
OTOH, there are some people who delight in turning fact-based disagreements into personal fights, and are happy to win through logical rudeness and gratuitous nastiness. One of the usual ways to pick up social status in geek circles, for instance, is by flaming people to a crisp -- these are scored not on whether you happened to be right or wrong, but on how thoroughly the recipient is ground into dust, and how entertaining bystanders find their destruction. Many communities have designated targets for their members to practice on.
All that is just obnoxious, and goes *way* beyond "vigorous disagreement". Often someone who gets called on such behavior will start waving around terms like "free speech", "healthy debate", "vigorous disagreement", as a way to deflect criticism, but pff. That's just more of the rudeness that got them into the mess in the first place, and I'm under no obligation to buy into their self-serving redefinition :-).
One more point about the idea of raising the bar for men rather than lowering it for women: In addition to my concerns about whether that's an accurate description of what we want, it seems to me that by framing it that way, you run the risk of providing comfort to those who *don't* want to give up the double-standard -- you may give them an excuse to stop worrying about habitual sexism while feeling virtuous about working on the "real problem" (whether they accomplish anything or not). I assume that's not your intention, but the possibility makes me uncomfortable, and might be off-putting to other potential allies as well.
Copyright © 2013, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds