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Fedora Welcomes Women to FOSS 339

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the ladies-first dept.
nman64 writes "The Fedora Project, the project behind the Fedora Core Linux distribution, has introduced Fedora Women, a program to reach out to women who are interested in using and contributing to Fedora Core. This follows in the footsteps of LinuxChix, Debian Women, and Ubuntu Women and is part of a larger trend to support women in the FOSS world. At present, women are believed to make up only about 1.5% of the FOSS community. Is that finally set to change?"
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Fedora Welcomes Women to FOSS

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  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:15AM (#15806149)
    This thread is useless without pics.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:15AM (#15806150)
    Why exactly do they need a set of nude photos?
  • Artificial (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trifish (826353)
    Why do you encourage or even force them? Let them decide naturally what they want to do. Women don't force use men to breast-feed either. Respect people's natural inclinations and interests.
    • Re:Artificial (Score:2, Insightful)

      by albalbo (33890)
      Interesting that you mention "force"; doesn't seem to me that Fedora Women forces women to be involved with Fedora.

      As for "why encourage", maybe you'd like to start to explain why Google's Summer of Code had zero women applicants, whereas Gnome's Women's Summer Outreach Programme had a great number of applicants, when the two programmes were basically the same.

      Claiming women's "natural inclination" or interest is to not participate in free software projects is about as sexist a viewpoint as you can possibly
      • As for "why encourage", maybe you'd like to start to explain why Google's Summer of Code had zero women applicants

        That's easy to explain (and already was in the OP). It's because nobody encouraged women explicitly. They let them choose naturally. And the result was that girls didn't want to participate. They weren't interested. Do you get the point?
        • Re:Artificial (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy (595695)
          Exactly. They encouraged people to participate. That includes men and women. It's kind of says something when they have to specifically target women to get any response at all. In my software engineering program there was only about 6 girls. And half of them were there just cause they wanted to make a lot of money, not because they liked computers. I'm not sure why it's this way, but it just is. The same reason you see less men in Nursing or child care. It's not a bad thing, just that men and women
    • Re:Artificial (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:19PM (#15806439) Journal
      In general, I hate this kind of thing. My university had a Women's Officer[1], but no male equivalent. When one of the candidates approached me at election time, I was told 'women make up 52% of the population, and we need to protect this minority.' In general, my feeling is that I don't want anyone doing things because there is an outreach program for them; if you're not going to do something because it's what you enjoy, then please don't bother. If women, or men, want to develop F/OSS then that's great. If they don't, then encouraging them to do so for the wrong reason really won't help.

      This is a special case, however. A community being less than 2% female is more than natural self-selection. I suspect that a number of women have tried to get involved, but been repulsed by the community. Look at this Slashdot article; the first post was a comment asking for pictures. Now, as someone who has been around Slashdot for a while, I can be fairly sure that this was meant in jest, but this is exactly the kind of thing that would make a woman interested in joining the community leave.

      There are, secretly, at least two women[1] who post on Slashdot. If you look at any thread where they make a reference to their gender, even indirectly, then you will see a huge number of 'wow, look! A girl!' posts. These are often followed by a load of accusatory posts ('you only hang out here because you have low self-esteem and you want to be fawned over by geeks'). It's small wonder that most of the female population of Slashdot tries hard not to draw attention to the fact.

      This kind of program is not intended to encourage women to participate in the geek community, so much as to prevent the ones who want to become involved from running away. This, I think, is a sensible objective.


      [1] Or FBI agents; it's difficult to tell on the Internet sometimes.

      • There are, secretly, at least two women[1] who post on Slashdot. If you look at any thread where they make a reference to their gender, even indirectly, then you will see a huge number of 'wow, look! A girl!' posts. These are often followed by a load of accusatory posts ('you only hang out here because you have low self-esteem and you want to be fawned over by geeks'). It's small wonder that most of the female population of Slashdot tries hard not to draw attention to the fact.

        Have you considered the po

        • Re:Artificial (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dasunt (249686)
          FWIW, I've been in (free beer, not OS) projects where the number of women make a sizeable percentage of the total number of people involved. But those projects were MUDS (text-based games which tend to rely on well-written descriptions).
    • Re:Artificial (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shreevatsa (845645) <shreevatsa.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:30PM (#15806485)
      Let them decide naturally what they want to do.

      Axiom 1: People do what they want to do.
      Axiom 2: It would help to have more people doing X.
      Corollaries of Axiom 2: (i) It would help to have more women doing X. (ii) It would help to have more men doing X. (iii) It would help to have more people from $ethnic_community doing X.
      From these, it follows (among other things): It would help if more women wanted to do X. In other words, it would help if women were encouraged to do X.
      Encouragement is never bad. If you (or enough people) feel that it would be good/useful to encourage men too, go ahead.

      Also, have you ever considered that "natural" inclinations may depend not only on biological/genetic/evolutionary factors but also on societal/psychological/community factors? Since we can't change the former, we try to change the latter and see if it makes a difference. Every group that decides it wants more women (or $ethnic_community, or whatever) is free to encourage more women (or ...) to join it. Have you considered that the reason there are very few women in field X might precisely be that it is considered "unnatural" for them to have inclinations towards it, and that if this perception were changed, more women might be naturally inclined towards it? Maybe we would also have more male nurses and more male teachers and more girls interested in mechanics and sports and ..., if there wasn't much societal prejudice? (I do not make any pronouncement on whether this would be a good thing or not, to avoid the sort of replies that this would otherwise inevitably get.)


      (In summary, maybe "natural" isn't so natural after all? Also, somewhat offtopic, see this [j-walk.com] and then this [snopes.com] for something that would be "natural" once but seems very out-of-place today ;) )
    • Re:Artificial (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ztream (584474)
      "Why do you encourage or even force them? Let them decide naturally what they want to do."

      Because men are already encouraged. We are encouraged from the moment we are born. Encouraged to pursue intellectual challenges, technical ability, and achievements. Women have traditionally been encouraged to look pretty and shut the fuck up, though this is luckily changing; but the subtle differences in encouragement are still very present, if you make a conscious effort to perceive them.

      I'm the oldest of 6 siblings;
  • by r00t (33219) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:22AM (#15806173) Journal
    There are in fact a number of female kernel developers. They tend to go by their initials rather than revealing their first names. There is no bias if people can't even tell.

    Not that it should matter! If they like being developers, cool. If not, oh well.

    There is also Andrea, who is male. It's an Italian thing, OK?
  • That's a really nice insensitive. I would sure wish that more women were involved in computing, and actually interested by it. Almost 80% of the woman I met use the computer just for chatting to their friends through instant messenging.

    Having a woman's touch on a software would be really great. I sure hope this project is a success and brings some great woman into OSS.
    • Having a woman's touch on a software would be really great.

      Having a woman touch a software programmer would be greater.
  • Having been in university for about 4 years, from observation, the number of women in CIS classes is usually about 2/50, 4%. (Except for the first year CIS classes that are mandatory for science students). Officially, the CIS department here is concerned since only 3.7% of the people graduating from the CIS program are women. Of the women in the department I know, (and I know most of them, it's not hard to when there are so few) there's only one of them that might be interested in working on an open sourc
  • by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin.wick@gmai l . com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:26AM (#15806187)
    I'd like to think that more women will become involved with FOSS, although I'm not sure how exactly that will happen. There is still a huge gap in the numbers of men and women in CS programs, and there are other cultural factors, especially in the teenage years, that pressure females to not engage in "nerdy" activities like programming (which is seen to be asocial, even though FOSS development is quite social).

    On a more contraversial note, it seems to me that a lot of FOSS is driven by a very... male... obsessiveness. It is the experience of myself and my collegues that female programmers tend not to be "computer geeks," in the sense that when 5:00 rolls around, they are done programming for the day - no hobby coding, no /.ing, nothing. That does not mean it's true of all females, but even if a majority of female programmers are like this (which it seems to be), that's a huge chunk out of an already tiny share. Combine this with the fact that working women are still (somehow) expected by their husbands to do more of the housework and childcare... yeah I'm not so optimistic.

    Of course I, for one, would welcome our new female FOSS overlords, but I think that's probably a long way off.
    • by dch24 (904899) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:41AM (#15806258) Journal
      This may not catch every woman in FOSS, but it provides them with a community. And if this is run by men, it is probably doomed. Then again, anonymity is something that women might value even more than men, for any reasons you can think of. And you're spot-on about FOSS progress coming from the obsessive streak in many men.

      There are some intangible benefits to contributing to FOSS which might attract some women, like developing a better resume or making professional connections. However, I don't think women will contribute under much of the rationale that men do: scratch an itch, bragging rights, altruism, or even stick-it-to-the-M$.

      These programs won't have a major effect on the percentage of women contributing to FOSS. (Is there even a good way of measuring that?) If men wanted to attract women to contribute, they would advertise. There are a lot of businesswomen in marketing. QED
  • by DavidinAla (639952) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:28AM (#15806195)
    The underlying assumption of programs such as this is that women are too insecure or too intimidated to do something they want to do unless somebody sets up a program to cajole thing into feeling comfortable. That's nuts. Women do whatever they happen to enjoy -- as individuals -- and men do the same. Some people just can't get over the fact that vastly more men than women want to develop software (or create hardware or whatever). Why is this so threatening to them? Because it goes against their deep-seated belief that everyone is born identical and it's only culture that makes us want different things. That's bull and it's always been bull. Men and women are different in some key ways -- on AVERAGE. There are some very brilliant women who care deeply about IT work, but the vast majority don't. That's not going to change, even for the ones who are plenty bright enough to do it.

    If you think you need to set up programs to beg certain segments of the population that other people do because it's fun and exciting and rewarding to them, you're out of touch with reality about what makes people tick. Let the people who WANT to do technical work do it, whether they're men, women, black, white, pink or purple. It's about individual choice, not about counting numbers of certain groups.

    David
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:37AM (#15806241) Journal
      And yet, after KDE set up a site for women (by women), there was an increase in the number of women who participated. It is possible that it was due to the growth in KDE, but ....

      One last thing, Read the earlier postings. I think that if were a women, that I might get tired of the attitudes that are demonstrated here.
      • I still think that such programs, be they for OSS, or for a school, or for an apprenticeship are wrong by design.

        Why?

        Both women and men have the ability to choose what they want to do (restricted, of course, by their social class). Encouraging women (or men, for that matter) to do something which they aren't really interested in, brings the wrong people into such programs.

        People that have no natural interest into a topic. That doesn't mean that people attracted by such programs will always be inferior to na
        • Both women and men have the ability to choose what they want to do (restricted, of course, by their social class). Encouraging women (or men, for that matter) to do something which they aren't really interested in, brings the wrong people into such programs.

          This is the premise that your entire argument rests upon, that women have the ability to choose what they want to do. When in fact, culture and society restricts us immensely in what we are expected to choose to do. Today, one would look at the high ra
          • Your assertion that females are free to choose their best-suited field is simply wrong. We are not free to choose such things, and those girls who do choose to go into computer science are either mocked and thought less of

            This wasn't my assertion at all. Iam not a native english speaker, so might've not written clearly what i meant to say.

            You said:
            So long as our culture expects women to be submissive, we will never be able to assert our true desires.

            I said:
            If you don't like the results of our system, don't
      • You seem to be misunderstanding my point. I'm not saying that you can't bump up the percentage of women (or left-handed people or albinos or Lutherans) working on a project by catering to them. I'm merely saying there is no reason to -- and that the people who care about a project or activity will find it by their own free will. We don't need to worry about recruiting to match any particular demographic mix.

        David
        • Successful OSS projects attract a certain type of geek. They're very driven, often have egos (not making a judgement here... i'd put my ego up against the best of them ;), and don't necessarily take advice/suggestions/requests/criticism in the most constructive ways. While many men enjoy the verbal abrasiveness of support responses like, "RTFM, you f'ing twit! stop wasting my time", women are often turned away by such attitudes, particularly as beginners. Men, particularly geek men, don't always have the
    • See, the problem with debates like these, is that people polarize and jump to odd conclusions.

      While parent is right, there is variability of who just has some fundamental base level of interest in computers and geekery, there is still a vastly disproportionate number of men in computer science. The reason for this is cultural. And actually this thread is a fantastic demonstration of the problem. What's the first post? A request for pics. And then the remainder of the thread is littered with comments,

      • WTF! You and I must be living in different worlds.

        they think guy geeks are jerks. And i don't blame them... sit through 4 years of people who make you uncomfortable on a daily basis

        Where the heck did you see that happening? My experience is that most geeks are shy guys who would do almost anything to get the attention of a normal girl. My geek friends and I always behave nicely to girls and when we are in a relationship we sometimes tend to smother them, even. I have NEVER seen a nerd behave rudely to a
  • So implicitely (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Arthur B. (806360)
    Women are less skilled, less talented and thus should be helped and encouraged to participate in FOSS...
    But if they are maybe it's not a good idea to do thay...
    And if they're not then why the need for affirmative action?

    Every discrimination is stupid.
    • by dominion (3153)

      Thank you for brilliantly illustrating why programs like this are sorely needed.
      • I am saying this programs are sexist and damageable to women image. They make women feel like second class citizen in OSS. In the end they might have the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve.
    • Did you read the first post in this article? It was asking for pictures. Would you want to be a member of a group where the first thing people were interested in was your appearance, not your ability? Sure, the first post was probably a joke; you know that and I know that, but would a woman who was thinking of joining the community but didn't yet know it well?

      I wouldn't be at all surprised if a lot of women are interested in joining F/OSS communities, but are repulsed by the behaviour of the members. A

      • They're free to do as they want. The GPL can be used by anyone, they don't have to "join" anything.

        If I were a girl I would be more offended by an unnatural "Welcome, we don't act this way naturally but you're a girl so we'll try and be nice" attitude than a few stupid jokes.
    • Because the reason that people go into one field or another is only partly due to their skills and intelligence. Feeling accepted as a person (and not just 'OMG!!1! it's a girl') and camaraderie is really important as well.

      Personally, if it has just been skills and such I probably would still be in pure math. But I enjoy computers more because of the social aspects (chatting on IRC, posting on slashot, mailing lists) and the people here are generally pretty intelligent and interesting to read. I'm an intro

    • Re:So implicitely (Score:3, Insightful)

      by debiansid (881350)

      And if they're not then why the need for affirmative action?

      To account for all the brainwashing of women by the society over time making them believe that their only job is to take care of the household and satisfy their men.

      Take a look at all the jokes, the discrimination is still there and will remain until any affirmitive action is taken.
  • This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DesireCampbell (923687) <desire.c@gmail.com> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:30AM (#15806213) Homepage
    Women are working on stuff? Holy cow!

    Am I the only one sick of this kind of 'news'?
    This just in: two more female workers signed up for oil drilling, bringing the total population of female oil drillers to 4, of the total population of 20,000
    Why does it matter what sex they are? The reason this is 'news' is because people want to hear stories about how women are being treated equally in the workplace. Women's rights are always easy news. You say, "Women have lagged behind men in [insert job] but are catching up thanks to [insert bullshit here]" and you sell newspapers/ad-space/FreeIPodsAndViagra.

    If you single out women for working in a specific job for no reason other than 'they're women' you aren't treating them as equals to men. You're treating them like freaks, like a sideshow.
  • For FOSS women over 50, there is always the Red Hat Soceity [redhatsociety.com]. (That's the Cheery Red Tomatoes for you Simpsons fans) Sorry, I couldn't resist.

    Seriously though, shouldn't Fedora contact them? At the very least they can cross promote each other.
  • the guys just want a date
  • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:43AM (#15806271) Homepage
    celardore is basically right. Women tend toward more social careers. Of course there are exceptions and there are women who choose fields which are more male-oriented by their nature (construction, military service) just as there are men who choose jobs traditionally held by women.

    Unlike some other fields, women aren't being kept out of programming through any sort of imposed discrimination. Anyone can learn to program and anyone who writes good code can participate, especially in FOSS. I've known female coders for more than 20 years, from the COBOL whiz when I was a sysop at the Department of $US_DEPT to a few people in my department at $MegaCorp today. Yes, they're a minority, but only out of choice. No one is telling women not to code. Code doesn't have genitalia. As long as it works who gives a rat's ass whether code was written by a man or a woman or even by Hugo the Incredible Coding Marmoset?

    • Back in the day...waaaaay back, women were involved in Computing at a relatively equal ratio. The first programmer was a woman.

      Computing had no prestige back then. Nobody cared if women were in it because nobody really cared about it at all. Obviously it's not too hard or beyond their scope, and I don't think it's a 'social career' thing, either. Enrollment in Engineering and Mathematics is basically equal for men and women, and I wouldn't call either of those particularly 'social'. In fact, enrollment in n
      • Don't try and tell me that 'reverse discrimination' doesn't help the problem. Is it 'reverse discrimination' to put ramps in front of buildings because a portion of our population are confined to wheelchairs?

        No, it's just a really stupid analogy. Everyone with a functioning brain will freely admit that there are some things handicapped people simply cannot do. This is the whole reason the are called handicapped. It's the meaning of the term, for fuck's sake! This is fundamentally difference that a ma
        • And like I responded to someone else, why don't they choose to? Something in the water? A prophecy? Plague and Doom o'er the land? What?

          It's a perfectly reasonable analogy. Someone in a wheelchair can drag themselves up the stairs. It's a hard climb, but physically possible. THEY JUST CHOOSE NOT TO.

          And why should they have to? Similarly, why should women have to put up with the crap of this male-dominated field? They don't feel welcome, so they don't put themselves through the strain of breaking through the
    • I care. I've had to debug some of Hugo's work, and I can tell you we need fewer marmosets in this industry.
  • by coffeechica (948145) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:48AM (#15806298)
    The numbers aren't going to change easily. Not as long as the FOSS world is dominated by men (and yes, this is where the snake bites its own tail).

    One example: my university classes used to overlap with those of CIS students a lot, and what I heard from the few female students there was that they found it hard to communicate with the men at times and often didn't really want to. Simply take a look at /. - very male communication patterns, enough to make it tricky at times to know whether to be insulted or not or whether to take something the way it is written or with a grain of salt. Women will often think more and also interpret communications in very different ways at times. So when being into FOSS means 1) getting into a stereotypically male area of interest and b) interacting with almost only men who on occasion seem to speak another language, I have to applaud those 1.5% for sheer guts.
  • by Aeomer (990057) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @11:56AM (#15806322)
    I asked a work collegue 'why most women don't have hobbies?' She gave an answer I have heard many times - 'Woman don't need hobbies, we can create with our bodies. Men have hobbies to make up for their inability to give birth.' Then I stated 'But then why do any women have hobbies at all?' The answer stunned me 'Because they are barren, old, or gay.' So apparently, Open Source runs on testosterone. Never think women are more enlightened than men - they just disguise their stupidity better. ;-)
    • This makes a lot of sense. Men have an inate drive to be creative because unlike women, they are unable to create life. Even if you look at history, most of the famous writers, artists and musicians were men. I don't think it was all because of oppression. People do what they feel they want to do. I don't think we should try to be pushing people into doing things that they don't want to do. I saw enough unhappy people in university who were only in a certain program because their parents pushed them t
      • This makes a lot of sense.

        And, of course, if something sounds plausible, it must be true....

        Men have an inate drive to be creative because unlike women, they are unable to create life.

        Are you sure all men have an innate drive to be creative, rather than to, say, sit on the sofa and watch sports?

        I don't think we should try to be pushing people into doing things that they don't want to do.

        And where exactly is that happening here? The Wiki page for Fedora Women [fedoraproject.org] says:

        A large portion of the Fedora userbas

    • Your co-worker ranks on the exact same level as men who seek to 'score' as many times as possible, in that she thinks that a fulfilling life means carrying out her gender's reproductive function. She is also a misandrist, as in the opposite of a misogenist, because she's prejudiced against men, at least according to her own twisted terms: "to make up for their inability..."

      Fortunately, her type probably only exists in the same proportions as the equivalent stupid men.

    • I think, perhaps, your colleague span you a yarn or two.
      Knowing full well you'd buy it.
    • "I asked a work collegue 'why most women don't have hobbies?"

      You don't sound like someone who interacts with women much (I know that sounds like a put-down, but I couldn't think of any better way to phrase it).

      Take a look at your local PBS station's listings for Saturday morning sometime. Want to know what the majority of shows will be in most markets? Sewing, knitting, quilting, needlepoint - HOBBIES that tend to be dominated by women.

      My wife has spent more on sewing machines than I have on computers, came
  • Here we go again... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Here we go again, for yet another round of "I'm a guy, and I don't understand why this is needed" responses to one of these articles. Yeah, you're all right, the reason there aren't many women programmers is that women don't want to program or aren't suited to it. They also don't want higher education, and they don't want to work outside the home, and they don't want to vote, and they don't want to drive. And yes, they'd all love to post pictures of their boobies for you, if they only knew how to work th
  • Is that finally set to change?

    Certainly not because Fedora thought it's time they jumped into the line. Generally I guess the number (around 2 percent) is just about right. Although during my university years, that is from ~4 to 9 years back, in IT this number at us was much higher, you can hardly meet women actually working for their living in the field.

    While I also - like others above - don't really think such "separation" of women related to linux is generally good, it might help some newbies to get
  • I now of one way to get a lot more female linux users... being able to play the Sims2. My gf will switch from xp the same day that happens (without knowing about it for the first few months).
  • by Reverberant (303566) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:08PM (#15806384) Homepage

    I'm looking at the comments so far and they seem to be broken up into two groups:

    • "We need naked pics" jokes (like this [slashdot.org], this [slashdot.org], and this); and
    • "Women aren't in tech because they choose not be in tech" as exemplified by this [slashdot.org].

    Hasn't anyone ever thought that these two viewpoints might be related? That maybe the reason more women don't go into tech is cultural - not in the "women are more interested in nail polish than hard drives"-sort of way, but in the sense that they sick and tired of dealing with all the "oohh, titties!" comments that we men think is good natured humor, but gets old with women? Maybe, just maybe, if women (or minorities or the handicapped, etc) can be provided with a supportive environment, we'll find that women are interested in tech. Maybe we'll even find that some women can be really good at it.

    Let me put it another way. Everyone once in a while, a sports-related story pops up on Slashdot, and the comments inevitably drift toward stories of posters who have been pushed around by jocks in high school, so they now have a dim view of sports. Like us men making "titties" jokes, jocks would consider their messing with geeks to be good-natured humor. Imagine for a second that your exposure to sports came in a supportive environment (think affirmative action for geeks)- is it possible that this might have resulted in a more positive outlook towards athletics (especially sports like American football and basketball that involves a high degree of strategy as well as athletic talent)?

    It's not a matter of discrimination or taking something away from men. It's all about providing a supportive environment so that women can concentrate on the matter at hand, rather than dealing with all the 'good natured' 'non-PC' crap that men throw at them.

    • As far as the "This thread is useless without pics." joke, I read that as irony making fun of immature nerds, not anything insulting to women.

      That maybe the reason more women don't go into tech is cultural - not in the "women are more interested in nail polish than hard drives"-sort of way, but in the sense that they sick and tired of dealing with all the "oohh, titties!" comments that we men think is good natured humor, but gets old with women?

      Yes, I do think that. But it's stupid to let the joke

    • That maybe the reason more women don't go into tech is cultural - not in the "women are more interested in nail polish than hard drives"-sort of way, but in the sense that they sick and tired of dealing with all the "oohh, titties!" comments that we men think is good natured humor, but gets old with women?

      While this may mean fewer women in IT, it will certainly mean better women in IT. And before you jump on me for being sexist, what I mean by this is women who can deal with that kind of bigotry. Especia

    • I really don't care so much about people making jokes, jeez, I like the jokes about geeks just because I am one!

      But what is the point is that it is their 'choice'. Here, there is some magical stuff going on. I recently saw a talk by a female computational physics professor about women in science. A few years back, about 50% of the Natural Science (math, physics, chemistry, etc.) students in Iran were women. Similar numbers can be found in Italy, Spain, South America. The big riddle is that no-one really k

    • Parent post has a good point.

      If you are crying "Unfair!" about how it's not fair to have compensatory "reverse discrimination" or "affirmative action" because men and women should be on an equal footing, you don't get it.

      You can debate about whether this is fair in the job search market, but that's a completely different debate, because that's a zero-sum situation: if a company hires a woman due to "affirmative action", then by definition they have rejected a man applicant. That's not what's happening here
  • Unless someone indicates otherwise, on the internet, we are all gender-anonymous. There could possibly be more women involved in F/OSS than is assumed (none?). The default assumption here, anyway, is that everyone involved is male. Somehow every comment I post with any sort of gender reference is replied to with the assumption that I am male. Last time I checked, I was fairly certain that I was a woman.

    Personally, I am detracted from Women-specific IT/programming/OSS/etc groups, if only for the fact that

  • I made this point on the fedora forums a few months back when someone made a point of acknowledging some internal women's day or something such thing. By pointing out the differences you only further remind everyone that we are indeed different for pointless reasons.

  • Get over it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elsrod (572637) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:50PM (#15807324)
    Well, reading the first 182 comments posted here it's pretty clear why women still need dedicated users'/developers' groups. The stereotype humor appears to be alive and well:

    - ponies
    - pink
    - periods
    - pedicures

    As a woman in IT, I have actually found the majority of men in IT either don't care about women in IT or else are actively interested in broadening diversity in the field. (Mind you, that applies not only to gender but to ethnicity and other criteria as well.) Then there's that minority, the stereotype bitter socially retarded geeks with chips on their shoulders, doomed to eternally relive some perceived rejection from a woman or girl that dates back to elementary school...

    To those (whose postings I found so typical of their group) I say, what do you care if there are specialized programs targeted towards women? You are the majority participants, are you really that threatened if a bunch of girlies with sub-par technical skills (as you like to describe them) sit around, do their nails, doodle ponies and contribute to FOSS? I am flabbergasted to imagine how such an activity would have any impact on you whatsoever.

    If you are really concerned that the quality of FOSS will somehow decline, may I remind you of the peer review system. Even supposing any of the women's groups were to promote something that was of no use to the larger user/developer base, it would be critically reviewed and sent back for revision or else shot down completely. My point is that it shouldn't be an issue how people arrive at solutions; let them gather, support each other, brainstorm and develop in the forums that suit them best.

    Users/developers form specialized groups all the time, whether it be because of their gender, location, belief system or what have you. The news here is not so much the groups -- it's whether the percentage of women in FOSS may be higher than is popularly understood. All the hogwash about women not being interested in IT, not having the innate skills etc. aside, we're here and we're working away on the same projects men do. This may come as a horrible shock, but there are women who excel in the field.

    Personally I'm all for it. Let there be women's groups, gay groups, blue collar groups, Hindi groups, what have you. Let people work and network in whatever ways increase the brain trust. It's the results that count.
    • The stereotype humor appears to be alive and well

      Then there's that minority, the stereotype bitter socially retarded geeks with chips on their shoulders, doomed to eternally relive some perceived rejection from a woman or girl that dates back to elementary school...

      Wow. Just...wow. You complain about one stereotype, and then use another.

      Newsflash: I don't know, nor have I ever heard of, any guys who "eternally relive [sic] some perceived rejection from a woman or girl blah blah blah". I -do- know

  • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:28PM (#15807458)
    RTFWiki. The Fedora Women [fedoraproject.org] page on the Fedora Wiki says:
    A large portion of the Fedora userbase is made up of women. They are often under-represented within the community, with many people not even realizing how big a share of the community they are. The Fedora Women program aims to improve that representation and to provide a forum for the women of the Fedora Community.

    Note the "is made up of women". That's not talking about getting women to use Fedora. It's talking about women already using Fedora.

    It also says:

    Lady contributors to the Fedora Project can add their wiki homepages to the CategoryWomen category. The CategoryWomen page can be used to locate them, along with other Fedora Women pages.

    Note the "contributors". It's not talking about pushing women into contributing. It's talking about women who are already contributing.

    It also says:

    Women who are interested in working with the Fedora Project can work with Fedora Women to get started. They can also work through the Fedora Mentors project to get assistance for every step. For more information about working with the Fedora Project, see these resources:

    Note the "who are interested in working with the Fedora Project". It's not talking about pushing women into getting interested in Fedora. It's talking about women who are already interested in contributing.

    So this is not the project to get the girls away from their cooking and sewing, haranguing them into instead developing driver patches even though they'd rather be knitting baby booties, that all too many of the responses seem to be treating it as.

  • Minority reporting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @05:51PM (#15807712) Homepage
    Nothing keeps a minority group in the minority quite like identifying and classifying.

    So while we're at it, let's have "Fedora Blacks," "Fedora Orientals," or maybe just lump them together and call them "Fedora Coloreds?"

    I don't think it's a good idea, frankly, and for all the same reason that racial identification might seem inappropriate.

    (And on a side note regarding political incorrectness, why is the NAACP still called NAACP!? "They" don't want to be called "Colored People" even though 'of color' was the popular term, so why keep the same organizational name?!... I don't get it.)

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