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

Silvia Pfeiffer silvia at silvia-pfeiffer.de
Thu Feb 24 17:40:35 EST 2011

On Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 2:10 PM, elliott-brennan
<mail at elliott-brennan.id.au> wrote:
> On 24 February 2011 13:19,  <david at davidnewall.com> wrote:
>> Might women just not enjoy computing? That's something which would inhibit
>> them, but not a problem. Parity is not a requirement.
> Hi David,
> I'm not aware of any reputable research which has come to this
> conclusion. It may exist...but given the general research available
> I'd say the probability of this being the reason is very low.
> Women didn't appear to enjoy teaching medicine - but do now; serving
> in the armed forces and police forces - but have increased
> participation rates; working in child protection  - though they now
> form the greater number of 'real' child protection workers (personal
> joke. Non-govs don't cut it in my view as 'real' child protection
> workers :))
> I agree that parity is not a requirement. However the results of the
> greater part of research in relation to employment of women in
> traditionally male areas lends greater weight to cultural and gender
> bias within the community and the field the research queries.
> Classic examples are found in boxing. Having a family which includes a
> number of professional boxers and boxing trainers (amateur and
> professional) it's something I'm aware of myself.
> 1. Internal explanations for women not being involved as boxers: they
> just don't like it, it's too violent, it's not in their makeup, they
> are more interested in nice, gentle pursuits (bingo?).
> 2. External explanations: it's not lady-like, no-one wants to watch
> it, women shouldn't box.
> My dad would have loved my older sister to have boxed (she was pretty
> tough - more so than me!) but there was no venue or organisation for
> her to join.
> Furthermore, it was illegal in many places. Why? Because...because...because...
> When he raised it with other people, they often found the idea
> ridiculous. The idea that she may be interested was viewed as an
> indication of something odd or strange about her and a lack of
> 'femininity' - such as wanting to NOT ride side-saddle, wanting to
> ride motorbikes, wanting to work in a mortuary.... Check out the
> opposition to Marie Curie and the then general belief that her husband
> *must* have been the one who did all the work so why should she have
> been awarded a Nobel Prize?!
> I'm not aware of any cognitive research which indicates women are less
> capable for working in IT than men. Nor am I aware of any physical
> reason. To presume a 'dislike' or lack of interest is merely a
> presumption but not evidence.

Worse: it's prejudice.

I think we need to put the question on its head:
David: can you prove to me that women don't enjoy computing and are
less suited to the IT profession than men? Do you have numbers for
such a statement?


> Research in the IT area appears to indicate that the culture within
> the field is not particularly welcoming - though many individuals are.
> Furthermore it is not often promoted as a field of work for females.
> Here are some extant cultural products which, though stereotypes,
> serve to highlight undercurrents within society (otherwise they
> wouldn't be effective as stereotypes) which serve to support IT as a
> 'male' industry:
> Big Bang Theory: Men
> IT Crowd: Men
> StarTrek (all versions): majority of lead science division characters
> are male (there are some exceptions, but Seven of Nine has to be very
> sexually alluring with it and B'Elanna Torres was pretty tough and
> very masculine).
> Stargate (all versions): with the exception of Amanda Tapping, the
> central science-oriented characters are male.
> I'm sure there are minor characters I've forgotten about but the main
> characters are those with the cultural currency.
> It is also a stereotype that men involved in IT are immature in their
> dealings with women, haven't kissed a girl and are identified by their
> immature and adolescent views on sex, sexuality and women.
> Furthermore, this stereotype didn't 'make itself' -but that would
> require a full-on sociological analysis (preferably with a
> Foulcauldian description of how such things come about - sorry to you
> Derridian's but he's soooooooooooooooooooooo derivative :)))
> I'm not saying this is a true representation of men in IT, but it
> wouldn't get as much air play or be a common riff in popular culture
> about the field where there not something about it which 'twigged'
> people's views as being 'nearly true'.
> One thing that stereotypes do is to act as cultural barriers to the
> participation of others. Often in an almost subliminal way.
> Here's an interesting piece of research:
> http://bigthink.com/ideas/20260
> Regards,
> Patrick
> --
> www.techfriend.com.au
> Home software and computer training
> www.mercuryvideos.com.au
> Stylishly edited DVDs of your photos and videos
> _______________________________________________
> linux-aus mailing list
> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
> http://lists.linux.org.au/listinfo/linux-aus

More information about the linux-aus mailing list