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Re: Women in Open Source

On Mon, 2004-07-26 at 11:36, Amaya Rodrigo Sastre wrote:
> 1. Why is the gender ratio in Free/Open Source Software even more
>    imbalanced than it is in the rest of computing?

I don't believe it is any _more_ out of skew, in fact I have found more
women get involved in the open source scene in some ways, because they
specifically don't have to deal with the social norms at 'home' that may
inhibit otherwise them. The researchers should look into Malaysia where
they have a huge proportion of women in IT, across the board. This
apparently didn't used to be the case, they used to be similar to
Australia in that they only had a very small percentage of women. Now
they are offering incentives for men to get into IT, because there are
sooooo many women. I was told about 70% women, and that includes the
really high positions, no glass ceilings :D

> 2. In what other ways are the causes of this imbalance affecting F/OSS?

I think it mean people are drawn to FOSS that otherwise might not get
involved in IT as they can contribute without as much crap put on them.
I think that most people of the younger generations in FOSS are quite
open minded, and quite accepting. You have to be to have a successful
global project with people from many cultures, religions, both sexes and
many ages. I think this therefore is a more supportive environment that
the typical western corporate environment. I work in the corporate IT
world, and it is completely different to the FOSS world. It is caught up
in the social norms (women are technical! surely!), controlled by men of
two generations ago who believe all women should be at home with the
children, and young women are being brought up to believe they have
choice and possibilities. These young women, including myself,
inevitably butt heads with the older generations, and to be honest it
has already driven away a secret generation of women hackers, who were
extremely popular in the 60's and 70's (because they did so well on the
entry tests) but didn't often last long due to the conditions they had
to work under, and the complete lack of recognition they usually got. 

Here is a link to a paper by one of our (few) women politicians. Very
smart woman:


Anyway, cheers,
Pia Smith <pia@linux.org.au>
Linux Australia

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