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

Silvia Pfeiffer silvia at silvia-pfeiffer.de
Thu Feb 24 13:33:54 EST 2011

You are implying that women that don't choose to take a technical
career should not be there because they would not be qualified in the
first place. And you don't see anything wrong with that logic?

If we look at the global map of women in computing you can tell that
the number of women in computing is totally dependent on the society
that they live in: http://www.womenincomputingglobally.com/ . Note
that the number for Australia is from 2002 and it has got lower since.
Again: you don't regard this as a problem?


On Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 1:00 PM,  <david at davidnewall.com> wrote:
> Hi James,
> Affirmative action policies indeed do seek the minority when all else is equal, but the practice is different.  Can we agree that no two candidates are equal?  If so, then there should never be an occasion to refer to the policy.  As we know people have been selected based on policy, logically we must conclude that the best candidate did not always win.
> My reference to affirmative action was not designed to derail the topic, but to put background to my position. I'm happy to agree to disagree if you find fault with my take on these policies.
> Do I think have no problem with the current balance between the sexes? (N.B. Words have gender; people have a sex.)  Yes,  I am unbothered by it.  Sex (I claim) makes no difference to programming ability and I'm comfortable if women prefer other ways to spend their time.
> At risk of repeating myself, I think computing won't benefit from convincing people to join the profession.  That way risks attracting more hopeless cases; the one's who belong here will come of their own accord.  I understand you see the issue differently, but your comments about "push back" and being "dumped upon" don't resonate with me.  This is an industry with almost no barrier to entry.  The hardest parts are the cognitive and interpretive efforts.  Effort is needed to understand what customers want, what they need, and to explain the differences.  More and harsher "dumping" will be received from customers having poor understanding of their own needs, and of effort required to satisfy those needs, than from the experience of entering the industry.
> Also, my greatest success was seeing a person become a chef after asking for advice on computing.  Aside from the questions I previously intimated, I also asked him what he really wanted to do.  It was to cook.
> You made a comment that I'd like you to expand upon.  It was after you said that the Ada Initiative had the goal of encouraging people, regardless of sex (which it explicitly does not have.)  You implied that the community interacts differently according to sex.  Assuming you really meant a general reaction, rather than a tiny minority of individuals, in what way are women treated differently?
> Finally, I'd like to reiterate my intention to not pre-judge the initiatives results.  Regardless of whether or not I hold their goal to be worthy, the results they achieve will depend upon them.  It is within their power to affect the number of women in the industry and, to be clear, I make no prediction of the result.
> Regards,
> David
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