FSF->beards(); FSF->female_participants();

karin kosina kyrah at gnu.org
Thu May 10 14:04:58 UTC 2001

Hash: SHA1

Hi all,

    I'm sorry for being off-topic (this is not a FSFE problem but a much
more general one), but here's my point of view as a woman:

> if there aren't any more women is because they don't want to join,
> period; this is simplistic, and one could go into
> Freudian and sociological explanations that could tell a lot

Judging from my experience, the reason why there are so few women
working in technical professions (and that includes, of course,
programming) is that we are conditioned into thinking that this is man's
stuff... You may say now that this is not true, and that women nowadays
have equal rights and so on, but on a very basic, human-to-human level,
there are many differences. I remember very well when I was in
kindergarten and deconstructed our electrical toy train to find out how
it worked, and then the nanny told me "What kind of girl are you, huh?
You can't possibly be interested in that sort of thing... Go play with
the Barbie dolls..."
Those are little things, but they add up... Society's view of what a
girl/woman is supposed to be like, be interested in, etc. probably gives
many females the impression that being interested in tech stuff is a Bad
Thing... most of them don't consciously realise that, but many (of
course not all!) do turn away from their initial interest.

Beside that, there *are* many prejudices against women working as
programmers, even though nearly all men deny that. Everybody will tell
you: "Why, no problem, you are a woman, that does not mean you are less
competent", but most of them still look at your work differently, and
even when they come to accept you, it's more like "ok, she is good EVEN
THOUGH she is a woman", and never like a normal thing... I do not blame
men (most women themselves have the same prejudices), but that's how it
is... (at least that's how I have experienced it on my job as a web
developer and network administrator; and I want to stress here that I
had a very good working relationship with my colleages in general).

And going back to FSFE: if we could actively set a positive example of
respecting women on an equal base, that would of course be a great thing
(I am not saying it is not being done at the moment; I am talking about
actively promoting those ideas).

My best regards,                             gpg - public key 0x1FE281EB
    karin "kyrah" kosina                                http://kyrah.net
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