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Re: Why the Widening Gender Gap in Computer Science?

Hi Brenda, all

Brenda Wallace wrote @ 27/11/08 00:58:
> On Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 9:53 PM, Christian Perrier <bubulle@debian.org> wrote:
>> Quoting Meike Reichle (meike@alphascorpii.net):
>>> things to offer that others may not (I'm not talking about apple pie
>>> here) also research (e.g. Relinking Life and Work by Rhona Rapoport and
>>> Lotte Bailyn) shows that work/life balance measures such as flexible
>>> work times don't only benefit mothers and fathers but all employees.
>> In the long term, definitely. I'm personnally much more happy to allow
>> the female component of my team (8 people, 1 woman...) to take some
>> time off because she's been called in urgency to get her child at home
>> because of illness or whatever. The same stands as well for the only
>> male component who still has young children.
> We debian folk work with highly connected debian system of awesome.
> Being at home does mean we're a little harder to contact, but not by
> much. My company has an internal irc server on which most
> communication happens. A good number of my team are not in the same
> city, or same country as myself.
> I'd say most of us can get a far amount of work down on the couch with
> a laptop inbetween looking after a vomiting child.
> Likewise, we can work at non-conventional hours. I imagine that once
> the kids are in bed, you can get a bit of work done with same laptop
> on same couch while watching a couple episodes of Heroes.

I am afraid I am not so convinced of that. From my experience I need
some concentration for most of the work I do, there's very little grunt
work that can be done half-mindedly. I guess you do get some practice
eventually but I personally find it quite hard to work with lots of
disruptions or background hassle (be it kids or something else).

Also the working at non-conventional hours thing gets kind of hard with
kids hopping out of bed at 6am (or earlier) ;) I think the whole raising
kids thing is rather underestimated as long as you don't have/live with
any. (I remember by husband once saying that he could very well imagine
being a house husband and doing lot's of IT work at the same time since
"In the first time they basically only sleep the whole day anyway and
later it can play under my desk". The at that time present mother just
fell over laughing ;) I must add though, having two godchildren by now
his assessment has changed a lot (as has his willingness to be a home
husband ;)))

Generally I am rather doubtful on the compatibility of family and
(FLOSS) work. I guess it's quite telling that most posts in this thread
start with "I don't have kids myself but ..." It seems there aren't that
many mothers among the Debian Women and I'd be very interested in
hearing how those D-W who do have kids manage to combine their FLOSS
work with a family. I remember some years ago at a FLOSSPOLS meeting I
was invited to we also talked about the issue that of the tiny fraction
of women in FLOSS only very, very few of them had kids. I think then the
discussion went roughly in the direction that there's a difference in
what is generally accepted. Most FLOSS work is done during spare time
and it is a quite common picture that dad comes home from hard work and
goes to attend his hobby (in that case FLOSS) and he's to be left alone
doing so because he's had a hard day and deserves some time on his own.
On the other hand the idea of mum coming home and disappearing in her
computer room (or whatever) after dinner instead of playing with the
kids felt quite strange. While a working mother at least contributes to
the household income, a mother sacrificing family time in order to
follow a (technical) hobby is still rather strange and hard to conceive.

I'd be really interested if that is a correct estimation and how Debian
Women with children manage. Maybe any of you could share their experiences?

Best regards,

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