szabgab: (Default)
Gabor Szabo ([personal profile] szabgab) wrote2009-08-21 07:16
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What I learned about women last week

It is not a new topic for me either but since I read the
Standing out in the crowd: OSCON keynote of [personal profile] damned_colonial about the lack of women in the open source world I tried to do some little things. Primarily I tried to talk to a few women about it.

I probably grossly misunderstood everyone, so let me just write down what did I understand:

Last week I had a chat with Su-Shee whom I guess I can describe as a geek woman that started off on how to attract more women to the Padre project. The main point I got from that conversation was that women are less interested in the technology behind the thing (e.g. they don't care much if it is written in Perl, Python or Java) and are more interested in how can a tool help them to get their job done.

This was more or less confirmed by my wife who is a super anti-geek.

On the other hand in the last 7 days or so I looked around DreamWidth in an attempt to locate interesting posts and people. Most of the people I found seem to be women - based on either their self description in their profile or on some of the comments they make. They are involved in conversations which are interesting but none of which seem to have any connection to getting things done.

That just seems sooo contradicting to me.

Based on this sample I can easily generalize to the rest of the 3+ billion women and say that I still have no clue what would interest (or allow) more women to join open source projects in general and Padre in specific and what could I do to help that.

Maybe most importantly what can I do to make the life of my daughter easier?

So for now back reading about Geekfeminism.
yvi: XKCD comic: "You're flying! How" "Python!" (Python - Flying)

[personal profile] yvi 2009-08-21 06:08 (UTC)(link)
They are involved in conversations which are interesting but none of which seem to have any connection to getting things done.

What do you mean with that? I need to update that list for August, but I am a pretty active Dreamwidth developer. I am also a Bioinformatician and have worked for my university's IT for two years. I think that counts as 'getting things done'.

[personal profile] afuna and [personal profile] kareila are two of the most active Dreamwidth developers.

[And if I wasn't a Python person that only uses Perl to code for Dreamwidth, I might be interested in your project. But Perl is... not my language of choice]
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)

[personal profile] yvi 2009-08-21 06:25 (UTC)(link)
And I am not sure whetehr I just proved your point of e.g. they don't care much if it is written in Perl, Python or Java. I can program in about 5 languages, and I vastly prefer Python. I just don't mind too much if I have to use another one. Then again, neither does my boyfriend, who is at the moment using Java, Perl, and python for three separate projects.
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)

Re: posts vs actually doing

[personal profile] yvi 2009-08-21 07:07 (UTC)(link)
I was talking about the journal posts. It seems to me that most of the posts are about none-work related stuff.

Ah, I see what you mean. Soeaking for me, I talk a lot about development stuff in IRC, so I don't feel the need to post about it in my journal. It's mostly for writing down various stuff and oftentimes, I will go through phases. For example, right now I have a new hobby, knitting, which I post about. Before that, it was me starting to get involved with DW, before that fandom.

I have thought about starting a science and Atheism blog, but I am never sure whether I can actually blog about something consistently. At the very least, I need a place where I can write down random stuff without feeling like I am off-topic in my own journal.

Oh, and I think I just misunderstood your sentence: They are involved in conversations which are interesting but none of which seem to have any connection to getting things done.

In my non-native speaker, early-morning brain, I somehow thought 'none of which' referred to 'They' and not to 'conversations'. Ouups. Now I get what you meant.

Of course this is only my view of the subjects, you might see them in a totally different light and as I wrote I might have totally misunderstood what Su-shee meant "getting things done".

Well, for me, programming certainly is mostly a tool for getting things done, although I *do* enjoy the process of programming very much - the seeing the problem, breaking it down and then solving it things. But I can never be sure how much of that might be a gender thing, of course :)
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)

Re: posts vs actually doing

[personal profile] yvi 2009-08-21 12:55 (UTC)(link)
Heh, no worries :). I hope I didn't come across as aggressive.

chichiri: Chichiri in drag (Default)

Re: posts vs actually doing

[personal profile] chichiri 2009-08-22 16:37 (UTC)(link)
In my case, part of the reason I say very little about work is my employer is a bit paranoid about trade secrets getting out. I do occasionally post about work, but the posts are mostly devoid of any technical details and center around "office politics" more, plus they are always locked.

The other reason is people at my company can very easily get consumed so they work way way way too many hours and pretty much have no life outside of work. To keep myself from getting pulled into that sort of lifestyle I try to keep work and "life at home", which includes my dreamwidth account, segregated for the most part.

Of course, I do fit the mold of "women are less interested in the technology behind the thing (e.g. they don't care much if it is written in Perl, Python or Java) and are more interested in how can a tool help them to get their job done" in that programming to me is typically a means to an end but in my defense I'm not a programmer by trade - my work in another area of technology instead. However, I do find joy in writing scripts at work, not only because of what they let me do, but because of the improved efficiency and the instant gratification of seeing it work right away.
chichiri: Chichiri in drag (Default)

Re: posts vs actually doing

[personal profile] chichiri 2009-08-26 02:44 (UTC)(link)
Probably my scripts are not very good to share, though, even if I remove the company-secret information. Generally I use them to compile and parse data files so I can generate graphs in a statistical analysis program, lol. Or I use them to delete old data files so computer hard disks don't fill up. Things like that.
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)

Re: it was not my point but yeah

[personal profile] yvi 2009-08-21 06:59 (UTC)(link)
I wonder if it is only men who make religious language wars and if so is it because they being 98.5% in the OS community or because they like to pick fights?

I *think* it's the latter, but I don't feel comfortable making that judgmental, as I don't really particiape - maybe a bit in the Linux/Windows debate, but only face-to-face with people I know.

It think it plays very much into the 'my local sports team is better' mentality - you defend what you know again the outside.

[And, for your information and because I know it's not intuitive for someone coming from different platform - if you use the 'reply' button directly on my comment, I get a shiny e-mail that tells me you commented :)]
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)

[personal profile] cesy 2009-08-21 10:29 (UTC)(link)
A lot of the conversations on Dreamwidth aren't about getting things done - I heard it described recently as being like the office water-cooler - this is where we have casual chats in between work. Sometimes it drifts into chats about work, and some communities are more work-oriented than others, (e.g. [site community profile] dw_dev, [site community profile] dw_wiki and [site community profile] dw_suggestions) but the actual work (whether docs, support or coding) tends to go on behind the scenes - in the other IRC channels, in PMs and emails, in internal comments on support requests, and in Bugzilla.