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25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women

25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women

Posted Feb 1, 2013 11:03 UTC (Fri) by hummassa (subscriber, #307)
In reply to: 25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women by blujay
Parent article: 25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women

I don't know. I always thought justice is about treating the equals equally and the differents differently.

http://f.kulfoto.com/pic/0001/0038/i08l237187.jpg


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25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women

Posted Feb 2, 2013 0:36 UTC (Sat) by blujay (guest, #39961) [Link]

Examine your presuppositions. What is justice? What kind of justice are you referring to? Do you mean some kind of "social justice" which compensates some people for perceived inequalities by forcefully taking resources--or opportunities--from some people and giving them to others? Is such "justice" really just? How is it fair to the ones from whom the resources or opportunities are taken?

What is fairness? Is it everyone having the same wealth, or the same standard of living, or the same quality of life? Or is it all people having the same rights and being treated as equals? Is it the job of the government to treat its citizens fairly, or to enforce or create fairness by regulating its citizens lives? There is a significant difference between the two objectives. Is life fair? Should it be fair? Can it be fair? Would it be wise to try to make it fair?

What about liberty? Is "social justice" more important than liberty? Are equal opportunities more important than equal rights?

Is a government even capable of fixing such issues in society? Remember that government is made up of the same messed-up human beings that make up the society which has these problems. Can bureaucracy and laws really fix problems better than private citizens, free enterprise, or charities? Which motivates people more to do good work and selflessly help society: laws and regulations, or freedom to choose? What happens when the government is messed up and creates more inequality or "social injustice" than it fixes?

Don't dismiss these questions out of hand! They are vital to the discussion, but so many people do not even consider them--instead they jump to conclusions based upon unexamined presuppositions, and rational debate--and wisdom--are left by the wayside.

Government's job is not (or should not be) to enforce equal results in individual lives. Government's job is (or should be) to protect individual rights and allow citizens equal opportunities to pursue happiness--not to create, enforce, or restrict such opportunities.

Your image is cute, but it's not really useful for the discussion. Such a complex issue cannot be boiled down to a cartoon. Equality would be like everyone having the same right to get boxes and stack them up, or to do so for others as they see fit. But justice is not taking boxes away from some people and giving them to those who have fewer boxes--that's communism.

Obviously, GNOME's members are free to do whatever they want. But it's hypocritical to try to fix perceived unfairness and inequalities by creating new, unequally-available, unfair opportunities--that doesn't balance things out, it makes more inequalities and more unfairness! "Social justice" is not an equation that needs to be balanced--the solution is not like solving a math problem. "Social justice" is a problem of human beings being human beings, i.e. fallible. The solution is to allow all people the same freedoms to pursue happiness--including the freedom to help others do so--not to try to make people happy or prevent certain people from pursuing it in certain ways.

25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women

Posted Feb 2, 2013 17:18 UTC (Sat) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164) [Link]

You can make this a huge philosophical debate about freedom, fairness and human rights, but that isn't very useful. The comic posted makes a point which you can't ignore by trowing up more questions. We all know this is a complicated thing and different communities make different choices (notably, I know in KDE there is quite strong opposition to a program like the one GNOME is running. Reasons are very much related to some of the arguments you bring forward).

In the Real World, that is, outside of philosophical arguments, the reason for doing what GNOME has done is two-fold:
- there are extra barriers for women to get involved in Free Software (and having more women involved in itself lowers this barrier);
- having a larger % of women in a Free Software project increases fun and productivity

Both of these aren't exclusive to Free Software and quite well documented so if you disagree, I suggest you look up some research instead of asking me. I'm surely going to be too lazy to do your work for you.

25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women

Posted Feb 3, 2013 9:35 UTC (Sun) by efraim (guest, #65977) [Link]

>> The comic posted makes a point which you can't ignore by trowing up more questions.

The comic posted misses a point entirely. In real world such a justice is not usually achieved by putting more boxes and making the low higher. It is usually done by cutting down those who are higher. (and this is mostly how affirmative action-style initiatives deal with it) The result is much more graphical and I won't post it here. But the point is I hate analogies when they miss all the important details. I do not think that this detail is one which can be easily ignored.

25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women

Posted Feb 5, 2013 0:37 UTC (Tue) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

That's a very dark view of the world that I don't think is borne out by either intentions or facts. You can only believe we are diminished by women's outreach if you think that any job performed by a woman is taken away from a man.

25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women

Posted Feb 8, 2013 22:15 UTC (Fri) by ARealLWN (guest, #88901) [Link]

In response to this comment I would like to note that although I don't wish to be put words into your mouth you seem to be stating that life isn't always fair and it isn't the job of the government to make it so. I do not dispute that this an interesting viewpoint and one that can have an impact on philosophical discussion. I do not necessarily see this as a view that has kept up with modern understanding and modern sociopolitical views. In modern views people seem to accept that women also have a right to work and are also endowed with equal rights as males with limited exceptions (men enjoy the freedom to enter and exit bathrooms marked as being reserved for them but women are not necessarily welcome and vice-verse. This seems to relate more to personal privacy then to the issue being discussed but there are undoubtedly other examples.). If we accept these premises to be true and just I don't believe it is a far reach to accept that not welcoming and promoting women into a professional community is at the risk of the community's own peril and or demise (I do not wish to elaborate at this time, however, I believe history illustrates examples of a refusal of an establishment to embrace certain trends and refute certain intolerance or discrimination).

To return to the subject regarding a governmental authority enforcing the rule that life isn't always fair, there was a terrorist attack that occurred on September 11 2011 against the United States of America. The United States had the option of declaring to the friends and family of the victims of the attacks that life isn't always fair and it isn't the job of the government to act to attempt to make it so. Instead governmental authorities decided to strike out against terrorists and illegal combatants. I am not aware of terrorists or illegal combatants having any seats at the UN so this raises some interesting questions. Was it fair for the US government to begin combat maneuvers against groups that were clearly disadvantaged regarding worldwide political status? Should the US have waited for illegal combatants and/or terrorists to be given seats at the UN before attempting any military actions against them?

My point being that I can mention interesting facts and ask questions that can detract from the issue at hand as well. I firmly believe that Valerie has does an excellent job with regards to explaining the problem, giving examples of it and showing how we can all do something to help. She even gives helpful replies in this thread. If you were genuinely seeking clarification or were in fact ignorant of the issues then I apologize. I have myself been ignorant of issues or topics in the past and have attempted to appear more knowledgeable then I was without even attempting to glean basic knowledge in subjects before discussing them. I hope to merely seem ignorant of significant subject matter in the future as opposed to appearing arrogant and trying to be a smartapple.


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