[Linux-aus] Special support for women

Steven Pickles thatpixguy at gmail.com
Wed Oct 30 13:40:37 EST 2013

Hi all,

I just thought I'd use my irresistible compulsion to provide my 2 cents on
this topic as an excuse to try and weave my views in to some vaguely
coherent prose.

I'm one of the people that runs Hackerspace Adelaide. The age range that we
aim at means that we are starting a little too late in life to have any
meaningful impact on the social bias away from technology related fields
for girls and women. However, even "accepting" that bias, it still requires
a constant, non-negligible effort to make sure that the culture stays
welcoming for the rare-due-to-a-social-bias-beyond-our-control female that
wants to join the culture.

It is really easy for a locker-room culture to form in any male dominated
culture, and once it is allowed to settle in, you can't just "switch it
off" when you are in "mixed company". You need to make and keep an open and
inclusive culture _before_ the gender bias has any hope of changing, not
after. Maybe we all need a make-believe nerdy niece that we can consult on
occasion. If the culture would make them uncomfortable, your culture needs
a course correction.

I'm hoping that it's obvious that this idea of maintaining an inclusive
culture is completely independent of the questionable idea of positive

Random anecdote: I used to live in Berlin, and when I first arrived, the
yearly Chaos Communication Congress had a "partners free" policy, but it
was criticised as sexist, mostly by the women it was aimed at. It was
stopped, and instead, the money that went in to that subsidy was put in to
a huge, heavily Lego-based kid-minding area, which was far more successful
than free admission.


On 30 October 2013 12:11, Noel Butler <noel.butler at ausics.net> wrote:

> **
> On Wed, 2013-10-30 at 12:14 +1100, Tennessee Leeuwenburg wrote:
> There is, of course, a difference between a hiring decision and a decision
> to provide targetted support to the community. I'm not saying there's
> nothing worth discussing there, but just pointing out they are also
> different. The targetted support is designed to help build community and
> build the love of the game, so that when they get around to applying for
> the job, their heart *is* in it.
> I guess since the anti discrimination act is finely embedded in my head,
> it is my firm belief that favouritism can never be contemplated, let alone
> displayed, and lets not forget some could demand to know where is the same
> passion to get more kids involved since they are our true future, more
> mature age persons, the elderly, and I could go on, so we'll have to agree,
> to disagree on showing favouritism  [image: :)]
> Cheers
> _______________________________________________
> linux-aus mailing list
> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
> http://lists.linux.org.au/listinfo/linux-aus
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