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Re: Questions and comments regarding Debian Women

Hi Marga, D-W list,

On Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 03:00:17PM -0300, Margarita Manterola wrote:
> If you have the time, it'd be great if you could tell me, from your point
> of view, why are women not joining Debian nowadays, and what could be done
> from the DW project to help more women collaborate with Debian.
> You are also welcome to make these comments in the DW mailing list [1], or
> I can forward your mail at your request, if you wish so.
> [1]: http://lists.debian.org/debian-women/
> Thanks for taking the time to read (and hopefully answer) this.

I've been thinking about this email for awhile and I'm not really sure how
to answer it (hence my late reply). 

I was never deeply involved in Debian Women at all other than lurking on
the mailing list and irc.  I do remember when I was first getting involved,
writing questions to the d-w mailing list because I was scared of the main
lists, but I really have no idea whether or not that situation has changed,
mostly because I don't really read very many lists these days.

I wonder if a useful metric would be around the areas of software people
use vs the type they develop - although this may be too specific to my
particular use case. I use Debian as my operating system on all machines I
have anything to do with, both desktop and server.  But I only really write
web applications, and those don't tend to be software that I actually use
in Debian.  If you look at the packages I maintain or am involved with,
everything except one (buffycli, which I am the upstream author of, and is
a tiny perl script), they are all related to web applications, which I
don't actually use, but tend to work on for my main job, and have been part
of the upstream community.  

This boils down to - the reason I don't help maintain any of the
applications I actually generally *use* - is that they're usually written
in languages I don't know.  This is not necessarily a rational reason
though!  I imagine if I tried I would be able to pick up whatever I needed.
It's just maybe a barrier.  Incidentally I read about this "Build it" day
that was held recently - did I read about this on planet debian? I can't
check, writing this offline right now.  But maybe having something like
this to initiate new people into teams where they're not familiar with the
language or build tools would help?  (Sorry for citing things and not
providing links, I won't even get into the state of my internet connection
problems :) hopefully someone can find it or knows what I'm talking about) 

Regarding maintaining packages and not trying to be a DD - for me it just
really seems like overkill - for just a few packages, generally with
collaborators who already are DDs, it's just not worth it.  When I first
started out I was pretty determined that I wanted to be a DD but I think
that was more about the status than anything else, and I realised that was
a silly reason for me, especially since the effort required is so high
(which I think is good actually)

Anyway I'm not sure if Debian Women can do anything different to what it's
doing now, other than continuing to exist (I think its mere existence, even
if it's a largely quiet one now, is reassuring) and maybe doing more
advocacy and outreach, as others have said.

At any rate, A+ for awesomeness.


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Penny Leach | http://mjollnir.org | http://she.geek.nz
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