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Re: Debian-Women and SPI

Hi John,

Thanks for emailing the list about this.

> I'm interested in any feedback people might have.  Some starting
> questions might be:
>  * Why do you think there are few women participating in SPI?

Good question. I've been thinking about SPI a lot lately, and have
been also been wondering about why there are so few women
participating in SPI. The conclusion I came to is that the situation
is largely one of perception. 

I sat in on the end of an SPI meeting a while ago, in which the topic
of volunteers for the membership committee was discussed. I realised
at that point that I would very much enjoy getting more involved in
SPI, but had always assumed that it just wasn't an option because I
wasn't one of the people who'd got involved in free software way back
when. I think this perception largely stems from the fact that when I
think of SPI, I tend to think of a group of people all of whom have
years of experience and a great deal of knowledge relating to free
software. In constrast, the majority of women who participate in the
free software community got involved much later than men, and often at
an age when they didn't have as much spare time to dedicate to a new
interest. Consequently, many women (myself included) tend to feel less
confident in their free software knowledge and expertise.

Thinking about this further, and now having read your mail, I realise
that my perception of SPI is probably wrong, but I wonder how many
other women involved in the free software also see it as such. Perhaps
trying to address this perception would encourage more women to
participate in SPI?


hanna m. wallach
blog: http://join-the-dots.org/
work: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/hmw26/

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