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Re: The state of the Debian Women project (was: Re: DebConf6)

* Steve Kemp <skx@debian.org> [2005:12:06 20:56 +0000]: 
>> On Tue, Dec 06, 2005 at 08:46:45AM +1100, Helen Faulkner wrote:
>   Rather than *needing* to encourage women, or other newcomers who
>  might be intimidated when it comes to joining the project, we now
>  have people who are just quietly doing work.
>   Having no difficulties and not needing drastic changes is a great
>  place to be, right?

Sure, but it becomes an issue when, for example, newcomers are signing
up to the list and seeing no traffic -- our IRC channel is very vibrant
and women are doing plenty of stuff "quietly", as you say. But a lot of
it doesn't justify having a list discussion or it's too convenient to
keep it on IRC. While I think it's great when new people join the
channel, I think it's unrealistic to recommend they /all/ come on IRC in
order to participate.

> > Does anyone have ideas about what they would like to see Debian Women
> > doing that we are not currently doing?
>   It might be nice if a coulpe of people could write up their
>  experiences, or current projects just to reinforce the idea that
>  women and newcomers are doing useful and interesting things.
>  But the simple fact that they are doing so, and demonstratably
>  doing so is a good thing.

Yeah, I guess status reports might be ok occasionally. When I was
involved in LinuxChix, horn-tooting was encouraged; basically, telling
people all the cool stuff you did, the benefits being two-fold: more
exposure for accomplishments of women in computing, and actually
encouraging women to not be afraid to speak up about them. The theory
was that many women will not brag about their accomplishments or, at
worst, will not even get recognition for them. 

But I dunno, honestly, writing to a mailing list and saying "Look at
this cool thing I've done" sounds really unlikely for me personally,
though I think mentioning stuff because it could help people on the list
would be far more likely.

>   I guess since people haven't suggested projects we can either
>  assume the list-readers are either already working on projects
>  which interest them  (this is the answer I'd like to believe) or
>  are too busy to do so.

I know lots of us are working on projects that interest us. I think the
bigger problem (such that it can be considered problematic, which I'm
not sure of) is that we're not getting newcomers who appear have the same
vested interest in "getting women into Debian" -- they just want to be
women in Debian, or maybe just be in Debian in general without any focus
on the fact that they're women. Maybe that's ok -- maybe there are
enough of us around that we've reached a comfortable level where the
numbers are so high that people can't remember what it was like before
when only a few token females stood out. Our numbers don't speak of a
female-infestation in Debian, but people are at least beginning to
confuse names and no longer act surprised when they find out someone's a

But effectively, we're lacking leaders -- those of us who were in charge
in the past have moved on and/or lost perspective of what it's like to
be a newcomer and newer people haven't expressed a lot of interest in
taking over the role(s). And hey, if that's what people want, then
that's fine, but it does make me wonder if there's a /reason/ (fear,
entrenched culture, whatever) that it hasn't happened. 

I probably just want someone to keep the website up to date, though. :)

off the chain like a rebellious guanine nucleotide

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