[Linux-aus] An Open Letter to the Open Source Community
kevin at cs.adelaide.edu.au
Thu May 24 01:58:42 UTC 2007
Glen Turner wrote:
> Let's be blunt. The participation of women in computing courses
> at university was 50% in 1985. It is now less than 10%. So in
> our lifetime we have done something to move a relatively equal
> field into one exhibiting a sex imbalance to the extent that
> the government is considering de-funding the worst faculties.
I've just started my share of teaching the first year CS course here.
Haven't done first year for a few years now. I counted 15 female
students. This is dreadful. Much less than 10% Glen! (And the best
ratio we every had here @ Adelaide is just over 40%).
I give "come do maths/science/engineering" pep talks at 3 local high
schools. Female participation is virtually non-existent. The only good
thing seems to be that some of us are actually trying to do something
about this. The lack of female participation in this industry seems to
be something that is becoming systemic much further up the pipeline. We
*ALL* own this problem, we all need to do something about trying to fix
I don't want to upset people, but the original message really was one of
"a polite request to be considerate". The lack of female participation
in the generic "Software Industry" sets us up for modal failures that we
should be seeking to avoid. I think a lot of the male (and most of this
list is male) participants in this debate have reacted negatively.
Largely because they think they aren't part of the problem, etc etc.
20+ years of teaching CS at Universities has taught me that some female
students find some experiences at University more difficult than they
should. Changing the way things are presented helps them, and indeed
the rest of the class.
Just changing the *way* things are done can have an impact you might not
(initially) appreciate. My $0.02 is that we should all just try to be a
tad more open minded and indeed more mindful, period. [stops preaching]
Kevin J. Maciunas Net: kevin at cs.adelaide.edu.au
Dept. of Computer Science Ph : +61 8 8303 5845
University of Adelaide Fax: +61 8 8303 4366
Adelaide 5005 SOUTH AUSTRALIA Web: http://www.cs.adelaide.edu.au/~kevin
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