- Horror wants women to scream, but not to talk – The British Fantasy Association interviews 16 horror writers. None of them women.
- Overview of English grammar by Suzette Haden Elgin. 11 post series and still going strong. Here’s the adverb chapter!
- James Vasile, from the Software Freedom Law Center, has founded a planet (blog aggregator) for women in Free Software. Instructions on emailing James to add your blog are on the right-hand sidebar of that page (via Stormy Peters on the gnome-women list).
- Daylight Atheism has a discussion of Atheism, Race and Gender following on from Greta Christina’s posts linked previously (via Erigami in comments)
- Harriet Jacobs of Fugitivus is collecting stories of men standing against misogyny at Stuff What Boys Can Do. Happy endings not necessarily expected, just real stories of male allies standing up for what they believe in.
- Bruce Byfield at Datamation.com writes about Sexism: Open Source Software’s Dirty Little Secret (sanity warning re: comment thread, however; it’s deja vu all over again.)
- On being a nonprofit (and a girl) at TechCrunch 50
I’m going to be keynoting two conferences in the next month or so with extended remixes of the talk I gave at OSCON about women in open source, Standing Out in the Crowd. I’m very pleased to be have the opportunity to expand on some of the subjects I had to rush past in the fifteen minute version.
The first event is this coming Saturday the 19th of September. Atlanta Linux Fest is a free, grassroots event for the Linux and Open Source community and will feature lots of other great speakers including Ellen Ko, Rikki Kite, Michelle Hall, and more. If you’re in the Atlanta area you should come on by! Register here!
The second is ZendCon, a PHP conference in San Jose on October 19-22. My keynote’s on the 21st. Other women speaking include Sara Golemon and Elizabeth Marie Smith. If you’d like to attend, I’ve got a discount code for readers of this blog: enter “YDSK9″ at registration time and you will get 5% off whatever package you choose.
If you’re at either event, please come and say hi!
Terri recently pointed out that one way to involve more women in open source is to hire them into open source companies, an approach which works for other technology sectors as well.
I’m looking for advice and resources for putting this into practice, particularly in technology companies with a paucity of women. Assuming the company has open positions to fill, there is work to be done in order to:
- make the case for gender diversity with hiring managers
- attract applications from women candidates
- ensure equal opportunity for women in the selection process
- retain women once they’ve joined the organization
I’d like to hear your ideas and suggestions.
This isn’t only an academic exercise on my part, as we have openings to fill in my department, which currently includes less than 5% women. Â We’re looking for an exceptional manager and a variety of talented engineers.
Our most qualified applicants generally come from the open source community and/or the software industry, both of which have their own gender imbalances, and so we tend to receive comparatively few applications from women. Â Interviews and selection decisions are virtually all conducted by men, whose expectations have been forged in this environment, and in other, similar companies and communities. Â Our culture reflects those origins, which is to say that it has its share ofÂ issues which affect women.
How can I, and others in this position, effect change for the better?
Please send in your suggestions in the comments or add them to theÂ wiki.
Just how “mini” is this FSF mini-summit on women in Free Software anyway? We know that Deb Nicholson, Hillary Rettig, and Stormy Peters will be there, but who else will be?
I wasn’t invited. I haven’t heard of anyone else who was invited. Have you?
If you have any information, post it in comments and I’ll update this post with a running list.
Update: Christine Spang was also invited.
Unicorn check-in time for women in open source!
Bruce Perens seems to think that women aren’t passionate about open source software:
What I meant was that there are more women who hold technical jobs than there are women who so love the technology that they will work on it whether they get paid or not. That seems to be an especially male thing.
I told him I was, and he confused me with Yuwei Lin and then told me I (she?) was an outlier.
How about we all head on over there and tell him that a) we exist, b) we ARE passionate about open source, and c) yes there IS a problem, even if he doesn’t see it.
- Create an LWN account (free)
- Comment on this thread
- Prepare your bingo cards for a round of “Wow, there are girls here?!?”
I’m turning off comments on this post. Go make them on LWN, not here.
As I mentioned in the link roundup, the LWN thread on the Free Software Foundation’s women in Free Software mini-summit will burn your sanity points. But there’s an interesting comment thread involving Matthew Garrett (mjg59) and Bruce Perens about Asperger’s and high functioning autism and what can be expected from people with Asperger’s if they are critised for sexist behaviour or otherwise offending people.
I wanted to highlight this discussion largely because “(s)he can’t help it, (s)he’s autistic” and the more disturbing variant “if geekdom just tossed out all those non-neurotypical folk, all the nasty sexism would go away” pop up fairly commonly in geek feminism discussions. (I don’t observe this much from geek feminists themselves, although being neurotypical I won’t be as alert to it, but certainly in the discussions.) I appreciate the considerably more nuanced discussion on this.
Note for commenters: While the LWN discussion started by talking about Richard Stallman (RMS) and the EMACs virgins incidents, statements about Stallman being neurotypical or not seem to be a matter of speculation only. Comments on this post making blanket assumptions about all neurodiverse people being unable to function in society or perform certain social tasks, or presuming that any individual is or is not neurotypical without that person’s self-identification being known, will be deleted.
- The Free Software Foundation will host a mini-summit on women in Free Software on September 19. Seth Schoen notes that “I guess the venue and timing could be a challenge for some people (it doesn’t seem to be colocated with, or right before or after, anything else in particular)”. See LWN for some discussion, some much of it probably will cost you some sanity points.
- OMG! Girlz Donâ€™t Need Games or Features! — A review of the new Lilac PSP demonstrates that Sony, like many companies before, could use some lessons on how to market games and gaming systems to women.
- Anna Filina offers her take on women in IT saying (among other things) that she hates working with women. Um?
- Late business at the Hugo Awards in which Yonmei proposes a small modification to the nomination procedures for the Hugos to help redress the gender imbalance. Result: “There was certainly considerable SMOFFISH outrage at the idea that there could be anything imperfect or biased about the Hugo nomination system which might need to be remedied.” Links to LJ discussions at the bottom of the post.
- ROSE blog interviews Erica Brescia (BitRock), Angela Brown (Linux Foundation), Stormy Peters (GNOME Foundation), and Dru Lavigne (BSD).
- Another round of technology and gender images at Sociological Images, including a woman tied to a bed as an inducement to buy Gameboy consoles.
- Melissa McEwan (via M. LeBlanc)Â on how puzzled privileged people get when they have fun intellectual devil’s-advocate conversations about our oppression and we get personal about it.
- The GNOME development community is planning an outreach program for women similar to the 2006 outreach program. They are looking at funding women developers to work on GNOME Shell.
I’m in Buenos Aires this week for Wikimania, the annual conference for the Wikimedia community. Also in town: Richard Stallman. Today he gave a public talk at the Teatro Presidente Alvear about Free Software, and reports are that he made his virgin joke again, only this time in a non-gender-specific way. For whatever it’s worth, one woman who was present told me, unprompted, that she found it weird and uncomfortable.
Tomorrow morning he’s keynoting the conference itself. I’ll be sitting in the front left area with a bunch of other geek feminist types. If you’d like to join us and see what transpires, please do!
One of the most interesting suggestions I’ve heard on how to get more women into open source is pretty simple: Pay them.
As someone who loves doing this as a volunteer, I want to protest. Shouldn’t we all be doing this for the betterment of the world or something? But the more I think about it, the more I love this idea.
Think about the challenges women face getting involved with open source projects.
Feeling like they don’t belong? Paying someone is a pretty strong “we want you” signal, both to the woman herself and to others who might challenge her.
Not having enough time because of other life-work commitments? Making it your paid gig makes this the “work” part of that equation, rather than some part that just doesn’t quite fit.
Fewer opportunities for mentoring? Again, having the structure of a company behind you can make it a lot easier to ask for help within a known structure rather than trying to guess the social norms of an open source project.
There aren’t many women? Well, hiring a few is a great way to get the ball rolling, hopefully making it easier for future women. It’s an interesting way to handle the bootstrapping problem.
Paying women to do open source work isn’t going to solve all our problems, but it cuts through a lot of the Gordian knot that’s there. It just might be a useful tool for changing the status quo.
In cereta’s words, “Oh yes, I’m going there.”
After George Sodini went on a misogynist shooting spree, killing three women, a lot of people were making comparisons to the Virginia Tech or Columbine shootings. But among women in the tech world, the comparison I most often heard was the Montreal Massacre.