Wednesday, July 23, 2008

women in FOSS talk

Pia is giving a talk on Heroes: Women in FOSS.

Heroes feel a little bit different. Start small, then realize it's a lot different.

Think of:
10 tech women you personally know
5 non-tech women you know
3 issues around gender in ICT

Surrounded by men, and thought: These women don't know what they're missing.
Then realized, it's a widespread problem in western society.

This is NOT a GENDER issue! It's a cultural issue. Not due to body parts, but due to societal expectations.

Everytime you say "I support women in nontraditional roles" you're reinforcing that tech is a "nontraditional role" for women and that "I'm a freak".

Odd sayings:
women aren't interested in computers anyway
she must be butch to be into computers
you're not really a woman, you're one of us
you're too pretty use mutt
women like "creative" jobs
"nontraditional"roles for women

Every generation, what you have to deal with is more subtle.

Girls are high users of internet, gamers, not as polarized as boys,

Girls and boys = how they used tech differently: Boys either loved computers or hated them. Girls, just used them.

focused on social good - so FOSS is great, not on money or politics.

If you're not a "nerd" (male), then you must be this big scary monster. Had weird things assumed about her because she's into IT.

Smash the stereotypes: in positive ways.
we come in all shapes and sizes.

7.3% women in FOSS.

Isn't the point of free software to get involved? We need to get the word out.

Lots of pictures of women in FOSS.
Not that many sysadmin women

Dorothy Okello - uganda, doing great wireless stuff.
Amy Jiang = leader in China on free software.

New website:

Real issues:
active discouragement: no jobs due to the bubble burst
stereotypes = need to be comfortable in ourselves as women
lack of empathy: try to not be "surprised" about women in FOSS
hard to not share the negative stories! lead by inspiring.
Jerks and lack of leadership/policies lead to mass exodus of women.
codes of conduct. not just about being good to women: be excellent to each other.

Real pathways:
show profiles of awesome women and men
go to schools and universities
working with children

be the change you seek

what do we need?
know the facts
connect with each other
assume stupidity over malice
fulfill our dreams
education about pay, negotiation and expectations
empathy: we're hackers and people too

women need to not hide
encourage others
empower women *with* technology
talk about positive stories

Philosophies of FOSS are really interesting.
FOSS is the world's most powerful platform for social change. Meritocratic, cross-everything, extremely diverse. Succeed in spite of politics, social, agendas, Digital Divide.

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