[Linux-aus] The Ada Initiative - Should Linux Australia support it?

david at davidnewall.com david at davidnewall.com
Thu Feb 24 13:19:49 EST 2011

Elliot Brennan:
> All things being equal, it is only reasonable to 
> believe that women would be equally represented. 
> As this appear not to be the case, then it speaks 
> to itself that something is occurring which 
> inhibits or restricts equality of opportunity and 
> interest.

Might women just not enjoy computing?  That's something which would inhibit them, but not a problem.  Parity is not a requirement.

 That alone is of concern to anyone who 
> believes in equality of opportunity. There is no 
> need to consider this bad. If one considers that 
> women are statistically as smart as men, then the 
> concern would be that a large group of highly 
> intelligent people are unrepresented and that this 
> is not in the best interests of the IT field.
>   > Certainly we need no more
> > programmers of little ability who are only in it
> > for the money; not even if they are women.
> > 
> Can't agree with you more.
> > I suspect that people with appropriate talent and
> > desire will find their way into the profession
> > regardless of encouragement.
> This would appear to not be the case. The dominant 
> cultural values may well be changing. However this 
> does not mean they are ineffective or irrelevant. 
> There are multiple examples giving evidence to the 
> existing biases, these include female-dominated 
> industries which pay less when compared to 
> male-dominated industries of similar 
> skill/education levels and those areas in which 
> skill and intelligence rather than physical 
> prowess are required and yet there are few women - 
> IT would appear to be one of them.
> The questions of 'why not?' is an obvious one and 
> beliefs around what women will 'enjoy' or are 
> attracted towards are evidence alone that there is 
> a cultural bias.   There is on evidence of a 
> 'natural' inclination of such a high order as IT 
> or Teaching.
> Without wishing to spend too long on the subject, 
> cultural bias is not merely something one group 
> imposes on another, but includes the 
> internalisation of these biases by all groups. The 
> internalisation and expression of cultural beliefs 
> is one of the major   mechanisms of the 
> reproduction of these beliefs.
> People from a poor
> > socio-economic background might need a gentle
> > nudge but not, generally speaking, young 21st
> > century women.   I'd rather see young people
> > encouraged into a healthy hacking culture,
> > regardless of sex, than to give scarce resources
> > to the purpose of attracting women who might
> > better enjoy working elsewhere.
> ...and here we have an example. It presupposes 
> that women will enjoy working somewhere else. It 
> also presupposes that women will be encouraged to 
> enter a field they don't like - how many men does 
> this happen to? People are usually attracted to 
> what they believe best suits their internalised 
> perception of an area they should work in. Few men 
> become pole dancers.
> I do not say this > to pre-judge the Ada 
> Initiative's outcomes, merely
> > to express a concern.
> Ditto.
> Though I would generally support those projects 
> which aim to increase the population of those 
> groups which are under-represented, as long as the 
> money is well spent/gifted/donated etc, I'm not 
> familiar enough with LA history or policies to 
> express a view based on such.
> I agree that monies need to be spent wisely and 
> that it should be clear what any money is spent on 
> and why.
> Regards,
> Patrick
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