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

Pim van Riezen pi at vuurwerk.nl
Thu May 10 15:09:26 UTC 2001

On Thu, 10 May 2001, Kim Bruning (seperate for lists) wrote:

> On Thu, 10 May 2001, karin kosina wrote:
> > 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...
> I think that this is what I've been seeing when I talk with people on this
> subject. *Especially* when those people were women.

That's the odd bit that struck me as well. One thing for consideration,
though: The professional group of computer programmers doesn't strike me
as one that discourages women to join. This is not to say that a woman
entering the field does not run into problems with prejudice: They do, but
generally not from their peers but rather from managers, customers and
other outsiders. The male programmers mostly aren't into this "I don't
think you can do this 'cuz you are a girl" trip, again at least not in my
experience. Given this observation, I find it hard to conclude other than
that the factual _work_ just doesn't seem to attract females as much. If
this is true, then there is there really a problem that we can fix?

> Try it sometime. Ask some random people "Should there be more female
> programmers?".

I would say 'Yes', but as I outlined above, my opinion is not what matters
here. I think the workplace would be a lot nicer if it were more diverse.
But as a male, the only thing I really can say is that women should be
doing whatever it is they enjoy doing most.

> Pay attention to how people answer. Especially somewhat older women.

This gives hope for a changing perception, where younger females have
already been less pre-programmed with ideas and imagery about what's
within their reach. Who knows, in a couple of generations we will have
done away with all this perceptual hogwash :).

> So how do we fix it?
> Well, apparently lots of people have this perception that women only like
> to do things that contain lots of <insert your favorite sweeping
> generalisation of the day>.
> So what's wrong with subverting these perceptions to our own goal? ;-)

Nothing as such, but it's an agenda possibly bigger than that of promoting
free software. Stating that the percentage of women working in the field
would influence the state of free software would be sexist in a way; Since
men and women are equally capable, the percentages should not matter,


Head Development - Vuurwerk Internet (http://www.vuurwerk.nl/)
Brainbench MVP Unix Programming, twisted artist and Free Software idiot.

I need a mental stoma.

More information about the Discussion mailing list