Re: Code Of Conduct

> > A quick browse of intake statistics for the University of Western
> > Australia says that of 47 BCompSc freshers last year, only 2 were
> > women. For BEng (all majors) the female intake was only 10%.
> We seem to be far below 10%. And way below the 25% or so number that
> I've read for general proprietary involvement.

Well to bring up some anecdotal argumentation here. At Oracle the
consulting department, where I worked, about 70% of the developers where
women. One thing I can say for sure about these women was that they
couldn't care less about GNOME or GNU/Linux in general. They had a vague
general interest in the sense that it influenced their work when
customers deployed on GNU/Linux systems, but even the vaguest suggestion
about spending some personal time on a development project like GNOME
just gave me 'are you from Mars?' looks. The issue of harshness of
language in the community didn't even register as they where never
interested enough to engage on a level where that potentially could have
mattered, we lost them loooong before that.

So you could say, 'so what?', these women are not representative, its a
random example of some women you know and you can't apply their attitude
or behavior to women as a whole. To which I can only answer, I
absolutely agree.

So why did I bring it up? Well because the claim that harsh/rude
language is the reason more women isn't involved with the GNOME
community is based on the same kinda anecdotal evidence. So while I
don't oppose a 'code of conduct' document for GNOME I think we are being
rather naive if we think it will open the floodgates and bring big
amounts of female participation in GNOME projects.

I would happily support any useful proposal to recruit more women to the
community, but I haven't seen any proposal to date which actually seems
even remotely plausible to accomplish anything. Instead we talk about it
a lot and when no good solutions/ideas are produced we instead fall back
to cliches about being a more cuddly community. (I also question the
universal truth of the claims about women being less harsh/rude, I have
known women who could even give Jammie Zawinski a run for his money :).

So based on Dave's numbers of 2 in 47, it means that even if we manage
to recruit 50% of the women doing IT studies at that University, which
would be a percentage enormously bigger than the percentage we recruit
among male students, we would only manage to recruit 1 woman, which
wouldn't alter the demographic landscape of the GNOME community much.

The same goes for Asians, our fallback to rude/harsh community as the
explanation for their lack of involvement is more a product of our own
failure to get them involved than a product of a real understanding of
the actual reasons. I think that when we don't fully understand a
problem we have a tendency to start grasping for explanations.
Explanations which tend to say more about ourselves than about the
situation we are trying to explain.

So if we are getting a 'code of conduct' document lets do it because we
think its a nice thing to do for ourselves, for the people who are in
the community today, not because we delude ourselves into thinking its
the factor keeping women and asians out of the community.


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