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Re: Debian, lists and discrimination

On Fri, Aug 06, 2004 at 01:47:51PM -0400, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> On Fri, 6 Aug 2004, MJ Ray wrote:
> > I hope that people won't feed the
> > trolls and it results in debian doing something better to tackle
> > inequalities.
> What is left unexamined in all these discussions is why Debian (as a
> project) should be doing anything to tackle inequalities?

Because there's a whole pile of potential contributors out there that we're
almost certainly driving away.  I'd like to at least give this little
experiment into equality a go -- not just to encourage more women, but also
encourage more non-confrontational men into the mix.

> As far as I can
> tell my microwave oven was made exclusively by atheistic communist
> Chinese.  But it hasn't affected this religious, Republican,
> Indian-Americans' ability to make cheese on toast any.

If you wanted to help make the microwave, though, you'd probably have some

We (or at least I) am not looking at gender issues in Debian from the
consumer's point of view.  

> Does the fact that
> Debian is produced mainly by men prevent, say, a rape crisis centre from
> using it?

No, and in fact I know of a women's refuge that is (or at least was) using
Debian to run it's net cafe.

> Or is the contention that there is some barrier to involvement
> by women (and only women) in the project itself?  Because such an
> allegation should be backed up with some solid facts.

Barrier to involvement by anyone who doesn't feel keen on getting involved
with a percieved bunch of rowdy social-teenagers.  Which happens to
primarily be women (although I know several men who have declined active
participation in Debian, despite definitely being technically qualified).

As to the barriers to involvement in Debian by women, it's pretty obvious
that our gender participation ratio is decidedly different to that of the IT
industry in general, let alone the general population.  I believe (although
I'd find it harder to back up with real numbers) that our female / male
participation ratio is also lower than participation in the wider OSS world.

- Matt

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