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Re: Re: Just a single Question for the Candidates

From: Craig Sanders
meekness isn't about bullying.

it's (partially) about perceiving bullying whether it's really there or not.
it is a disability which varies in severity from being mildly shy to being
socially crippled......it is not the fault, or responsibility, of non-meek
people, any more than fully-abled people are at fault for the disabled.

and just as you don't cure quadraplegia by breaking the arms and legs of
healthy people, you don't cure meekness by making healthy people fearful &

Nice analogy. It is indeed not the fault of able-bodied people that some people have quadraplegia. If, however, a group finds that they have a disproportionately low representation of quadraplegics involved, it's possible that enquiry will reveal a barrier to involvement that effects people with quadreplegia more than able-bodied people. Maybe there are stairs at the entry to the building. Are you really suggesting that the able-bodied community should not at least attempt to lower that access barrier by providing a wheelchair-ramp? I guess it depends on what kind of community you wish it to be, and how much you value the participation of those who are effectively denied entry by a barrier that is insignificant to you personally.

Just because some people have difficulty understanding that there are barriers that make participation in things like the debian community more difficult (on average) for women than men, doesn't mean the barriers don't exist. Social and cultural barriers are more difficult to see than physical barriers - that much is clear from some of the comments on this thread alone. They are also more difficult to lower. It comes down to what the community as a whole wants to do.

For the record, I'm not a particularly meek person :) But whether I am or not is beside the point. The point is that barriers exist to participation in debian by women, and that as a result *on average* a women is less likely to participate in debian than a man with the same level of skill. If the debian community wish to have greater partipation from women, maybe they need to work out how to reduce the overt barriers (eg sexist comments, harassment etc), and provide "ramps" to lower the effect of the more subtle barriers (eg lack of confidence).

For the record, I make no particular assumptions about the way any specific debian person will behave towards me. However if I was inclined to do so, some of the postings on this thread would make me assume, more strongly than I would have before, that debian guys are likely to be either condescending or sexist. I have learned something through this experience! Isn't it lucky that I don't really go for making such assumptions ;)

For the record all my more general statements apply to my understanding of the position of the *average* woman. There are of course people who don't fit that average. (Actually I'm one of them, but that doesn't mean I don't experience enough of the same feelings to understand the problems people have to deal with.)

For the record, I am not trying to blame the debian community for the existence of barriers to women in this context. That would be like blaming able-bodied people because some people have disabilities, and anyway the causes of the problem go much wider than the debian community. However I do believe that if that community wishes to encourage greater particpation by women, making an effort to lower the subtle barriers would help. It's clear, from many of the posts to this thread, that lots of you are certainly willing to try that. How much harm can it do to make the effort??

Helen-the-unmeek  :)

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