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Re: Debian, lists and discrimination

On Sat, 7 Aug 2004 10:41:33 +1000, Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@debian.org> said: 

> 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.

	There are other barriers to participation, and saome of these
 are cultural.  For example, some oriental societies find the strident
 individualism of occidental social structures a definite barrier to
 participation -- but I think that issue in not yet even a blip on the
 horizon as far as the project is concerned.

>> 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).

	I strongly suspect that this is not limited to women -- indeed,
 people raised in the occidental tradition, regardless of gender, may
 be better able to deal with the culture in Debian than societies
 where one role in the group is percieved to be more important than
 individual beliefs and views.

> 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.

	Hmm. What do you feel about the participation of
 affrican-americans in the project? Native americans? Indians, given
 the hoopla about the growing strewnght of the Indian IT globally?

	Does it bother you that the Project seems to be predominantly
 Christian (as in most developers come from a Christian background)?
 Why not?  Given that the project is a global one, don't you think
 Buddhists are under represented? Hindus? Muslims?

	I would suspect there are a number of constituencies that are
 under represented in Debian, for a myriad of reasons.

"What is the sound of Perl?  Is it not the sound of a wall that people
have stopped banging their heads against?" --Larry Wall in
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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