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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 2, 2013 8:37 UTC (Sat) by shmget (subscriber, #58347)
In reply to: 25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women by duffy
Parent article: 25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME's Outreach Program for Women

". With programs like this, women are brought in as equals and treated appropriately."

The program explicitly discriminate against men... by _requiring_ the applicant to be female.... how is that being 'brought in as equals' ?
That is exactly the opposite of that.



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

Posted Feb 2, 2013 13:57 UTC (Sat) by duffy (guest, #31787) [Link]

" The program explicitly discriminate against men... by _requiring_ the applicant to be female.... how is that being 'brought in as equals' ?
That is exactly the opposite of that."

The program would be discriminating against men if men had any trouble joining open source projects. Looking at the ratio, they don't. Most certainly the ratio of women in open source projects doesn't match the ratio of women in computer science programs (no, it's not 50/50, but it's not less than 1% either) so yeah, we have a problem, and we're trying to solve it.

Seriously, go back to the MRA hole you came from http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/

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

Posted Feb 3, 2013 1:53 UTC (Sun) by shmget (subscriber, #58347) [Link]

"The program would be discriminating against men if men had any trouble joining open source projects."

No that is irrelevant... just because woman can easily get _a_ golf course membership somewhere, does not means that Augusta is not discriminating against women.


"The program would be discriminating against men if men had any trouble joining open source projects. Looking at the ratio, they don't. "

The ratio of selected candidate does not prove anything.
Analyzing the ratio of lottery winners does not tell you anything about how easy it is to win the lottery...
(and before retorting that only men win, bear in mind that in that case the ratio of winners is identical the the ratio of players... and sure people that did not buy a lottery ticket did not win... not a big surprise)

"Most certainly the ratio of women in open source projects doesn't match the ratio of women in computer science programs"

So?
I would suggest you establish the ratio of student of computer science programs, based on their primary motivation for choosing that field.
There would be 2 main categories: the one that do that because they are passionate about the field and the one that do that because there is a good prospect of career, better than architect or Mechanical Engineering or any other field that they would have been capable of graduating from.

In the past 20 years I've noticed that the proportion of job candidates that are in the field just to pay the bills are growing significantly, being now-a-days a large majority. That does not means they are not good at their job, but that means that if it was not for a pay check they would certainly do something else...
and in my experience, that category is about 50/50 male/female.
Now, considering that Volunteering is usually not a gainful position, and certainly not the easiest way to get a full time pay job in IT, that subgroup of computer software student is very largely under-represented in Open Source software volunteer ranks.

So, the raw juxtaposition of the gender ration among 'computer science program students' and 'open source volunteers' is not very indicative at all. It certainly do not make the case for 'open-source project 'discriminate' against women.

I would also note that, Open source is a rare field of endeavor that 1/ is mostly volunteer based: you don't get hired, you don't get drafted... you just show-up.
2/ a lot of the interactions are not in-person. When I review a patch posted to the ML, I certainly can't tell the gender of the author, nor do I care. And certainly if someone were rejecting patch based on the perceived gender, or nationality, or creed or ... I'd be there to object.
But my objection would be on the ground of 'irrelevant' criteria... and that is a two ways street.
3/ it is a very recent human endeavor, that attracted a section of the population that is much more liberal and progressive than the general population.

all these tend to indicate that open-source communities are actually less likely to discriminate based on gender than the general population.

"Seriously, go back to the MRA hole you came from"
Is that supposed to be an example of courteous, friendly atmosphere that one is exhorted to cultivate in open-source project ?
Just because I disagree whit the notion that two wrongs make a right, you must resort to name-calling ?

I any case, we are digressing quite a bit from the core objection I have:
Job discrimination is morally wrong, not matter who discriminate against whom. two wrong do not make a right, and are on the contrary more likely to create even more conflict and animosity.
I leave you with this quote from 'The West Wing' that illustrate the failure of such policy to resolve anything:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YjoSMwVOXQ

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

Posted Feb 3, 2013 12:11 UTC (Sun) by alankila (guest, #47141) [Link]

I'd suggest you to look at the fundamental inequality of program like this in terms of being a temporary design to jumpstart a more even gender ratio. Having women involved will help other women stay involved, and changes the basic social dynamics that appear to keep women out as things would stand without a program like this.

So it's a temporary measure to fix a problem we necessarily do not know to fix in any other way, and it's evidently working. So chill?

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

Posted Feb 3, 2013 14:38 UTC (Sun) by aoeu (guest, #84301) [Link]

My forecast, looking at the current college enrolment sex ratios, is that the GNOME PR team is anticipating at least a few decades of employment before they can announce their program "worked".

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

Posted Feb 3, 2013 17:45 UTC (Sun) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

It's probably Sunday Lunch Wine Effect, but I couldn't parse your sentence.

PR guys will be substituted by PR women?
It will take a long time for more women in GNOME?
What are the college sex enrollment ratios?

I'm at a loss here.

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

Posted Feb 4, 2013 0:55 UTC (Mon) by duffy (guest, #31787) [Link]

> No that is irrelevant... just because woman can easily get _a_ golf
> course membership somewhere, does not means that Augusta is not
> discriminating against women.

I'm seriously missing the reference here, sorry.

> I would suggest you establish the ratio of student of computer science
> programs, based on their primary motivation for choosing that field.
> There would be 2 main categories: the one that do that because they are > passionate about the field and the one that do that because there is a
> good prospect of career, better than architect or Mechanical Engineering > or any other field that they would have been capable of graduating from.

So you think the *women* who do study computer science do so because of the prospect of making money after graduating, not for genuine interest in the subject? That's really funny given the 'man must be provider' 'caveman say cavewoman stay home go sweep cave ung ung ung' analogies that have been made.

That being said, yeh, I really don't get your point. I studied computer science at the height of the dotcom boom in the US; the majority of my classmates were male (the gender ratio was more like 10-15% female than < 1% in my program), and the vast majority of women I knew in the program were genuinely interested in the subject, I would say at a much greater rate than the men in the program.

The thing is, if you're interested in something only for the money, and it turns out to be an unpleasant experience (you're one of 10 women in the lecture hall and get stared at like some kind of zoo animal), you've not got much motivation to stay. If you're genuinely interested in a subject, you're much more likely to stick it through regardless of the BS you have to put up. This is why I think a higher proportion of the women in my CS program had that genuine interest than the men.

Although this is all conjecture based on anecdotal evidence, of course.

> all these tend to indicate that open-source communities are actually less likely to discriminate based on gender than the general population.

You may have convinced yourself of this quite well, but my personal experience as well as the experience of many of my female colleagues begs to differ. Do you think we're lying?

> "Seriously, go back to the MRA hole you came from"
> Is that supposed to be an example of courteous, friendly atmosphere that one is exhorted to cultivate in open-source project ?
> Just because I disagree whit the notion that two wrongs make a right, you must resort to name-calling ?

I didn't call you a name. I told you to go home.

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

Posted Feb 4, 2013 3:33 UTC (Mon) by shmget (subscriber, #58347) [Link]

"I'm seriously missing the reference here, sorry. "

My mistake, I thought that the reference would have been well known.
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/31/business/la-fi-mo...

"So you think the *women* who do study computer science do so because of the prospect of making money after graduating,"

No, I'm saying that among people that do so for that reason, my personal experience is that there is a lower gender gap.

"That's really funny given the 'man must be provider' 'caveman say cavewoman stay home go sweep cave ung ung ung' analogies that have been made."

I have never made such statements nor ever held such views.

"You may have convinced yourself of this quite well, but my personal experience as well as the experience of many of my female colleagues begs to differ. Do you think we're lying?"

Are you saying that Open Source Communities discriminate _more_ than the general population against women ?

"Although this is all conjecture based on anecdotal evidence, of course."
And my own anecdotal evidence is that I have never rejected or seen a patch rejected because the author was presumed to be a woman... Do you think I am lying ?

"I didn't call you a name. I told you to go home."
Case in Point

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

Posted Feb 4, 2013 5:13 UTC (Mon) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

" Are you saying that Open Source Communities discriminate _more_ than the general population against women ?"

Seems so. Compared to the general population, we have even lower % of participation from women and the amount of vitriolic attacks against women seem to be rather high including groping etc in open source conference, death threats via email and so on. More public exposure doesn't account for all of that.

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

Posted Feb 5, 2013 15:15 UTC (Tue) by duffy (guest, #31787) [Link]

> "You may have convinced yourself of this quite well, but my personal
> experience as well as the experience of many of my female colleagues begs > to differ. Do you think we're lying?"

> Are you saying that Open Source Communities discriminate _more_ than the
> general population against women ?

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. The male:female ratio in the industry is much better than in open source. The male:female ratio in my computer science program and many others is much better than in open source.

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

Posted Feb 5, 2013 15:44 UTC (Tue) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Seconded. When I worked in the proprietary software industry, about 40% of my fellow developers were women. Find a free software company with similar figures...

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

Posted Feb 5, 2013 17:06 UTC (Tue) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

I was at a Perl conference last year and one of the training companies had a short presentation on this very thing, with similar numbers. Their training classes for Perl were around 40/60 like you've seen in industry but attendance to conferences and participation upstream was more like 5/95. They were trying to advertise and get more people so that conference participation more closely reflected the reality of the community.

I don't think that many people understand how much of an outsider, how uncomfortable and awkward it is to be the one who is obviously different (gender, race, etc.), how that discourages participation and how encouraging people to be role models can make an environment friendlier and encourage participation.

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

Posted Feb 4, 2013 17:35 UTC (Mon) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

all these tend to indicate that open-source communities are actually less likely to discriminate based on gender than the general population.

I don't agree. Open-source developers often tend to be opinionated and vocal. While I think these are good things, they sometimes morph into the closely-related bad cousins of arrogance and aggressiveness and this can turn off a lot of women. It turns off a lot of men, too, but I think we are more socially conditioned to ignore or fight back against aggression than women are.

Also, have you read the horror stories like The dark side of open source conferences? That article was quite shocking (to me, at any rate) and I have no reason to disbelieve it. It seems the open-source community isn't as liberal and open-minded as you might think, especially when some of its members get some alcohol into their systems.

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

Posted Feb 2, 2013 16:36 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

You organise a 100 metre race. The first 4 people to cross the line get a prize. So far, so fair. But it turns out that someone's attached half the participants to the start line with bungee rope. It wasn't you, so you're not discriminating against them, but they're going to have to be much better than the others in order to win.

Running a program that doesn't explicitly discriminate against women doesn't mean that they have an equal chance of success. External factors such as stereotyping, a lack of good mentorship and past experiences of overt sexism in the technology industry result in women being significantly less likely to apply in the first place. Those factors are self-reinforcing - they exist because of there being a low number of women in open source, and they perpetuate the situation where there's a low number of women in open source.

In an ideal world people wouldn't be sexist and there'd be no problem here, but this isn't an ideal world and the only way we've found to reduce sexism is to artificially restore the balance by giving certain advantages to women to make up for the inherent disadvantage that they suffer. If you don't like this solution, work on a better one. Code talks, etc.

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

Posted Feb 3, 2013 14:30 UTC (Sun) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

Let's put this in terms we can all understand.

A bug exists. We're arguing about whether we should implement a workaround or force a fix at the problem source.

As good engineers some are arguing that the workaround is stupid and the problem should be patched at its source.

As good engineers some are arguing that the problem source is an intractable vendor whose source code we don't have access to, and as such it's better to implement a workaround then just leave our users with the problem.

Nobody here is being evil, we just disagree about where to patch the problem.

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

Posted Feb 3, 2013 18:21 UTC (Sun) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Well, not exactly. Some are arguing that there isn't a problem. Others are arguing that there's a better way to solve the problem, but aren't actually doing any of that work. And some have come up with an approach that the former groups don't like, but which is so far the only approach that's achieved anything. We can discount the first group, but if the second group wants to be taken seriously then they should commit to demonstrating a better solution.


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