[Off Topic] HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux

Custom custom at freenet.de
Tue Jun 28 10:29:12 UTC 2005

Arjan Geven wrote:

>>What a terrible article..... To summarize it: "Men are the problem".
>>It goes on and on about not doing this or that, not making sexist
>>jokes, not taking the keybaord away from a women when helping them but
>>just explaining the answer.. Jesus.
> And what's wrong with that? It's simple pedagogics. You should never
> take away the keyboard from someone you're trying to help, man OR
> woman. 

Of course! I wouldn't do that either no matter if I'm explaining 
something to women, men or (especially) children.  However if the author 
of this article frames this little pedagogic hint in an argument on why 
women don't use Linux then she's implying that women don't use Linux 
*because* "men are at fault", nicely illustrated with some examples of 
typical un-helpful behaviour..  It says "if men would just change their 
stubborn arrogant ways then women will flock to Linux.." I don't buy 
that whole line of thought, while of course acknowledging that the best 
computer/linux wizards are often the worst teachers.    In an argument 
on scaring off women I don't think it belongs. Might as well use it as 
an argument why elderly folks don't use Computers/Linux as much.

> I quote: "(..) Girls grow up without examples of women who are either
> competent or confident with computers. I encourage all women in
> computing to be as visible as possible--accept all interviews, take
> credit publicly--even when you don't want to. "
> That's not a man's problem, not a man's fault. It's something that
> women should do. The same goes for women in management of course, I
> guess it's no difference than women in computers.

Yeah..  still what irks me about that statement is that it implies that 
women should feel some sort of duty to advance the idea of female 
computer users in the world.  To me it simply doesn't matter if someone 
is male or female and I bet a lot of women feel the same.  Eventually 
this stereotype will die out.  10 years ago you never saw a 
non-caucasian-30-something-male in computer related ads/activties, I 
think that's changing nicely as well.   The whole article seems dated 
(though maybe it actually is dated in which case it's not the author's 
fault. :)

>>If anything, the best way to get more women into Linux (or at least
>>women of the type writing articles like that one) would be to actively
>>try to exclude them. And suddenly they'll be on the front row of Linux
>>conferences. :)

> What shall I say. You DO have a point ;-). Some people just LOOK for a
> tree to bark up to. (Hmmm, did I just violate rule number 3.2, "Do
> protest sexist jokes"?).

Yes. :) I'm still ahead in score on the sexism-meter though, my 
suggestion for the "Hello Kitty" or puppydog theme was sexist ploy to 
get a response, too. :-)

> Yes. This will attract non-computer users in general. I also like a
> computer with a fancy look and nice-looking interface more than a dull
> grey box with a command line.

You wuss!  <kidding :)>

> Although the author(s) of the article seems kinda obsessed with
> getting more women into linux, she does have a point that the average
> Linux-geek WILL scare women away. Ubuntu is the distribution that
> could make a change. It advocates linux for humans. Does that include
> women too? Yes, that includes women too :-).

Yeah.. I suppose so.. :)   The Ubuntu web page even goes way overboard 
with having no less than THREE humans of the female persuasion on the 
front page. (And the remaining ones are obviously gay.) :-)  Maybe 
that's why harcore Linux buffs with huge quantities of slackware behind 
their ears don't like us. :)


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