Re: Code Of Conduct

On Tue, 2006-05-30 at 19:41 +0200, Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller
> > > 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.

99% of the male developers I have ever met have the attitude you
describe below.

>  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

Not _the_ reason. A reason. And it's worth a try, given how badly we are
doing now.

>  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.

Here are some more:

>  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 :).

I agree. I think it's more that women are more likely to be beginners,
and unfamiliar with this harshness, and we need to welcome beginners

> 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.

This is based on what people who live in Asia have said. It could be
wrong. There's no harm in trying it, in the absence of anything better.

> 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.

Hence, why there was no mention of gender in my initial email. I
mentioned it in backup because it's one group of people who have
consistently said that it's a problem.

Murray Cumming
murrayc murrayc com

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