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GNOME Reaches Out to Women

CowboyNeal posted about 8 years ago | from the all-the-ladies-in-the-house dept.


Dominic Hargreaves writes "This year GNOME received 181 applications to Google's Summer of Code program, yet none were from women. As a result, they've decided to address this imbalance by launching an outreach program to sponsor three female students to work on GNOME-related projects this summer." Most any science department will tell you that the amount of interest and involvement of women pales next to men of similar age and background. Is this sponsorship a creative way to get women interested in GNOME, or is it merely sexist?

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What kind of projects? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545815)

Like tampon inventory stuff?

Re:What kind of projects? (0)

andb52 (854780) | about 8 years ago | (#15545833)

Speaking of sexist, that comment is uncalled for. Contrary to what the (former?) President of Harvard thinks, women are indeed capable of participating in math and science fields. It is merely social structure that "guides" them away from these traditionally "masculine" enterprises.

Re:What kind of projects? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545871)

traditionally "masculine" enterprises.

Of course, as long as you ignore the fact that early computer science was a traditonally mixed gender group, and before the dawn of computers came the Computers, a legion of women who sprung into action in wartime to compute firing tables for artillery. []

Re:What kind of projects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546119)

Women were used in those roles because the men were considered better at killing and being killed though and in war, unsurprisingly, people have to be kill and be killed.

I would suggest that killing and being killed are considered 'more masculine enterprises' than playing with numbers by the general public.

GP would seem right(?).

Re:What kind of projects? (1)

Toresica (788403) | about 8 years ago | (#15546137)

Women were used in those roles because the men were considered better at killing and being killed though and in war, unsurprisingly, people have to be kill and be killed.

And because (at the time) it cost less to hire a bunch of women to do menial work.

I've heard it argued that women would be better soldiers because women (on average) have a higher pain tolerance - but men still feel the need to protect women, and letting them go to war doesn't fit with that.

Re:What kind of projects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545881)

Thank you kind sir for answering for us the question that years of social sciences research still hasn't proved, either way.
Care to show us how you've come to this grand egalitarian result?

Re:What kind of projects? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545888)

The president of Harvard said absolutely nothing like women can't participate in math and science fields. Most of the discussion on that topic was ridiculous hyperbole propagated by people who for some reason decided to be upset by it. His speech was given in the context of empowering women, not belittling them, and most who report on this issue seem to have missed his point.

All he said was that it might be worth our time to look into biological causes that draw women away from math and science. He did not say anything to the effect that women aren't as good as men. Saying that men and women might be different seems about as shocking to me as saying that, OMG, women are so much better at giving birth than men. Shocking.

If you don't believe me, read the transcript [] and tell me what he said that's insulting.

Re:What kind of projects? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546102)

What's insulting about it is that this research has already been done and Summers simply ignored it. There's a large body of literature that has examined the question and found again and again that gender makes zero difference when it comes to ability in science. Summers' comments were just plain intellectually lazy.

Re:What kind of projects? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545920)

So who are the three males who won't be getting the scholarships because the money will go to three less qualified candidates?

Re:What kind of projects? (4, Insightful)

kz45 (175825) | about 8 years ago | (#15545936)

Speaking of sexist, that comment is uncalled for. Contrary to what the (former?) President of Harvard thinks, women are indeed capable of participating in math and science fields. It is merely social structure that "guides" them away from these traditionally "masculine" enterprises.

Im tired of hearing this bullshit argument. The reason there is a vast imbalance of men vs women in math and science fields is not because of a social structure that "guides" them away from these fields. It's because they just aren't interested.

Women are more social than men. Math and Science fields many times requires no social interaction. Coding away for hours at a time alone may be interesting to a lot of guys (including me), but not women. There are of course, exceptions.

Why can't we just conclude that men and women have different goals and ambitions in life rather than trying to push everyone along the same path? On the flip-side, there is a large imbalance of men and women in the nursing and elementary school fields. I don't see many groups getting up and arms over it.

Re:What kind of projects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545965)

These days if a man expresses interest in teaching elementary school, he'd probably be labeled a pedophile.

Re:What kind of projects? (1)

O'Laochdha (962474) | about 8 years ago | (#15545940)

Summers didn't say that women weren't capable of participating in math and science fields. He said that they were less likely to participate, that there were fewer capable women. That's not to say that there aren't capable women.

And I doubt you'd be saying "it's just social structure" in disciplines that are skewed towards women (with the exception of domestic skills). In fact, my guess would be that you'd say, or have said, that women would ipso facto make better world leaders than men, which is further than Summers went in regard to mathematics and heavily analytic sciences. Why is it acceptable to state an inherent difference when women are favored?

Women and Linux - My Experience (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545816)

Women make up 51 percent of the population, and because of this, Linux
should be banned in government. Operating Systems like Linux discriminate
against women because of a built in difficulty compared with Windows and
Apple's OS X.

Women pay taxes, and therefore shouldn't be discriminated against in
getting employment with government agencies. If these agencies had used
Windows or OS X, more women would be able to persue dreams of a full time
job in government. Linux is by its nature a man's domain. Women are
designed to use social interaction and emotions to deal with complex
tasks, things the command line are ill suited.

  OS X, and Windows have
friendly and female-intuitive designs that take into account a woman's
understanding of objects,ie. folders, desktops, Clippy, the XP search dog.
  These help women operate the computer by giving her a relationship with
these icons, and helpful animated pets. It makes a woman feel at home
with her computer by allowing her to relate to it.

Linux, on the other hand is designed for command line and programming.
Sure, it may have a fugly GUI to hide its true being, but to get any
serious work done you must know a bunch of archane commands with hundreds
of options that change with every command. Something like this: chmod
a+rwx. Only enginners can understand this. And most engineers are still
men. This puts the female population at a great disadvantage when
appliying for work. Men know this, and that's why they delibratly try to
install linux in the workplace.

How would womens groups react when they read the studies that are being
commissioned by industry on this very subject? Surely, women, when they
learn of this, will outvote men and ban linux from the government.

Re:Women and Linux - My Experience (5, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 8 years ago | (#15545830)

In my experience, Clippy has no redeeming features whatsoever.

Re:Women and Linux - My Experience (1)

Meagermanx (768421) | about 8 years ago | (#15545917)

Why is this not modded Funny? This is some great satire.

Re:Women and Linux - My Experience (1)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | about 8 years ago | (#15546030)

Why is this not modded Funny?

1: Your post is nowhere near as funny as it's parent, and,
2: My mod points expired yesterday.

Re:Women and Linux - My Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546000)

My god.. I mean, that's incredibly hilarious. Almost true, that's why it makes it so funny.

Is this for the benefit of the project... (2, Insightful)

Black.Shuck (704538) | about 8 years ago | (#15545817)

...or the rest of the male coders?

Re:Is this for the benefit of the project... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 8 years ago | (#15545861)

...or the rest of the male coders?

Or for both. A healthy work environment usually results in a healthy project... I think.

Re:Is this for the benefit of the project... (5, Funny)

Rahga (13479) | about 8 years ago | (#15545932)

As a developer on a gnome project, I can tell you bluntly that additional women would help. Additional men would help. Heck, additional crack smoking monkeys would even come in handy, as long as they could tell the difference beween a semaphore and a banana*.

[*]The semaphore and banana requirement also applies to women.

this shortsightedness is wrong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546041)

Preferential treatment (i.e., discriminating against those not in the preferred group) should be avoided in all forms since there is always a way to find an imbalance or perceived defficiency between job cagegory X and the general population.

Equal treatment and fairness are good things to which to aspire.

Re:Is this for the benefit of the project... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546080)

I dunno, there are quite a few girls enrolled in the CS program at my university. The problem is, 95% of them are from India. I've noticed that most of them don't tend to be too interested in linux (that's all of them, not just the Indian ones) for some reason, too.

That aside, (and I know this is kind of offtopic) has anyone else noticed that Indian girls tend to be kind of, uh, sheltered when it comes to sexual matters? I'm not trolling here - I've found myself dating quite a few Indian girls lately, and I noticed that they all either just lie there like a fish, or have some really weird ideas. Like this last girl I was dating, the first time I tried to go down on her she whacked me in the head and was like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING??" I explained it to her and she got this horrified look on her face and said "you can't do THAT! That would be SHAMEFUL!" I was like wtf...

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (2, Insightful)

CyberBill (526285) | about 8 years ago | (#15545819)

Apparantly I have to be female even to read the post... :( Honestly though, I would love to see more women in my work place.

most women are cleanfreaks (3, Funny)

Fry-kun (619632) | about 8 years ago | (#15545828)

..that's why they prefer KDE

me sexist? that's unpossible!

Re:most women are cleanfreaks (2, Insightful)

70Bang (805280) | about 8 years ago | (#15545988)

Actually, they are. (seriously) It's said that women are messy (things out of place), but what's under it is clean. Guys frequently have things in order, but what's underneath is dirty.

My wife is a serious, but self-taught cross-stitcher. Many believe the reverse side should be as nice as the front (no jibes from the peanut gallery) and her work is. I forgot to warn her the first time my mother & grandmother wanted to take a look at her work -- the first thing they did was flip it over. Along those lines, I believe code should be just as clean as the way it appears (or performs). And not just running it through a prettyprint. If you do structure it so it looks and feels right, those things which look out of place are usually wrong. (although formatting shows plenty of errors as well)

Bad code is part of why I've long asserted a minimum of 95% (it's probably closer to 98%) of the people in the IT/IS/MIS industry who write code for a living aren't qualified to do so. Were mechanical engineers, architects, or physicians to make a tiny percentage of the errors coders make, chaos would ensue. If you want your code to look better [by contrast], however, place it side-by-side with overshored code.

I went to a small school in the Midwest which is trying desperately to increase the estrogen content in the CompSci department. They (the dept) has become very persistent about putting the bite on everyone who might be willing to contribute in some way to get more women into the program (pun intended).

gnome's interest (-1, Troll)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | about 8 years ago | (#15545829)

it's simple really ... this outreach program is just a cover. it's really so that they can show these chicks "hey, check out this awesome cvs commit baby" and try to make a move

Of course it's sexist (1)

neomage86 (690331) | about 8 years ago | (#15545837)

but as a private entity, they can (morally, maybe not legally) discriminate for any reason that they want.

A simple litmus test to see if an action is *ist is to imagine the response if an arbitrary decision was reveresed. Would people be mad if Gnome was hiring only men for a position?

Re:Of course it's sexist (4, Interesting)

246o1 (914193) | about 8 years ago | (#15545984)

You have to remember that they are hiring women-only because everyone else is male. If there were 180 (or however many) women here and they tried to bring in some men, I think almost everyone would find it acceptable.

I think it's generally better to maintain some sort of gender balance than not to do so, just like I think it's better to support some sort of income/economic equality rather than having landed gentry with inherited fortunes and serfs. Of course, taking away some priveleges from the lords in my theoretical situation would be "classist," in a sense, but it would also be "good."

Re:Of course it's sexist (0)

JourneyExpertApe (906162) | about 8 years ago | (#15546126)

If there were 180 (or however many) women here and they tried to bring in some men, I think almost everyone would find it acceptable.

No, if there were 180 women working in a company, and a man were to be hired, he would be fiercely rejected. That is, unless he were flamboyantly gay. But of course, that would be politically correct because discrimination is unacceptable when it affects white males.

how silly (1)

sentientbrendan (316150) | about 8 years ago | (#15546143)

>A simple litmus test to see if an action is *ist is to imagine the response if an arbitrary
>decision was reveresed
Not really... just because someone recognizes the existence of race or sex and treats someone differently based off of it, does not make them a racist or sexist. Strangely enough, many people do seem to think that prejudice is constituted in acknoledging the existence of differences between groups, which is patently rediculous if you think about it. Color blindness is not a morally or socially good any more than sex blindness is. Frankly, if you failed to acknowledge my sex, I'd be pretty offended.

If acknowledgement of distinctions between groups were the the actual definition of prejudice, prejudice would not be a morally bad thing (depending on how you define morality, but we won't get into that. Let's just say that particular screwed up definition of prejudice would sit fine with utilitarian and deontological definitions of morality).

A better definition of prejudice, that actually makes it morally and socially reprehensible, is the idea of falsely identifying characteristics with a group, or overgeneralizing characteristics of some members of a group to all members. This kind of prejudice clearly has both poor reasoning behind it and bad consequences in front of it, thus making it immoral in most systems.

It should be noted, the various "isms" suchs as racism and sexism seem to be stronger than mere prejudice. Sometimes I use them interchangeably, but it would be most accurate to describe a racist as someone who acts on prejudice, whereas someone who merely has prejudiced ideas, but does not act on them (if that's possible) is merely prejudiced, but not racist or sexist.

I think that it's revealing that people have these poorly constructed ideas about what sexism and racism are. It shows that most people, even so called moralists, don't really think about what it means to act morally, but rather just act on their intuition and prejudices, which are a pretty poor guide to proper action in many circumstances.

What sense is there in calling yourself a moral person, or urging people to some moral action, if you haven't even taken the time to think about what morality is and how you determine what is moral? What sense is there in getting on a high horse and proclaiming the evils of sexism, when you doesn't even know what sexism is?

Women don't know about linux... (5, Funny)

a_greer2005 (863926) | about 8 years ago | (#15545838)

because Linux users dont have girlfriends!


Re:Women don't know about linux... (1)

ghostbar38 (982287) | about 8 years ago | (#15545891)

Emmm... What?

Bad Theory, at least that you were gay... If you're then i get back my comment...

Re:Women don't know about linux... (1)

dubmun (891874) | about 8 years ago | (#15545909)

Like any good joke there is a grain of truth in there...

Your comment reminds me of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the Star Wars Episode 3 line: Clicky []

I can even imagine it in his voice... "I keed, I keed!"

Shows what you know. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 8 years ago | (#15546093)

Women don't know about linux because Linux users don't have girlfriends!

That would only be true if women knew nothing about computers on their own. This proves that you know nothing about women and even less about Linux users.

Neo: I thought you were a man
Trinity: Most men do.

Adda Lovelace [] , Jean Sammet [] and Rear Admiral Hopper [] would probably be Linux users today. My wife and daughter are.

Thanks for playing the double insult. I enjoy small minded prey.

It's the Summers principle... (2, Interesting)

O'Laochdha (962474) | about 8 years ago | (#15545841)

"Any disparity of gender, of any kind, that works against women, is enough evidence of sexism to get sued onto the street." So, in short, neither. They're just covering their asses.

Re:It's the Summers principle... (3, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 8 years ago | (#15545955)

"Any disparity of gender, of any kind, that works against women, is enough evidence of sexism to get sued onto the street." So, in short, neither. They're just covering their asses."

This may be true, but sometimes a project can benefit from another angle. Gnome really seems like its trying to be the desktop top that is accessible to everyone. By having women participate, there is a possibility that they will bring in ideas that male centric project would not have had. The truth is though, many of the female developers I know about tend to be just as shy as your average male coder.

rats (1)

RedHatChilliPeppers (980675) | about 8 years ago | (#15545843)

seems like my theory is correct. Women hate IT geeks :P

Re:rats (1)

freemywrld (821105) | about 8 years ago | (#15545963)

except for those of us women who ARE IT geeks... sheesh.. quit talking about us (womoen) like we are a mythical species from the planet Xorlon V.. it's no wonder you poor boys can't find a date.

Re:rats (1)

RedHatChilliPeppers (980675) | about 8 years ago | (#15546028)

my apologies it should be _majority_ of women.

Re:rats (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | about 8 years ago | (#15546088)

Fact: If I had a S.O. I'd spend less time on Slashdot.

The implications of the foregoing are left for others to debate.

Re:rats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546122)

I for one welcome our Xorlonian overlords.

Now come on...that's just... (1)

botzi (673768) | about 8 years ago | (#15545848)

...desperate. I know getting a date is hard job(almost as hard as taking a bath....), and summer is a hard time for us to get dates, but do we have to go this low???;o))

This is terribly stupid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545850)

Most women aren't interested in computers.. In my class in software engineering, there were 3 girls.. one is going into management style stuff, the other one is doing a masters in UI stuff (from a human perspective) .. and the other one has no clue what she wants to do.. so she is doing an aeronautics master... Even after being given scolarships, etc just because of their sex. Giving money is dumb and does not work.

Why doesn't the GNOME foundation hire women for non CS work (dont they have a mangement job?) Or maybe for documentation or other stuff that they might find more interesting. And please please please hire based on merit, not sex. I find this horrible to say that you need to make special reservation for women since they can't compete with the boys.

anybody have the obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545859)

Danny DeVito joke?

Both. (1)

A Nun Must Cow Herd (963630) | about 8 years ago | (#15545864)

While it's a far cry from misandry, it is a sexist way to get women interested. How can you specifically target women without descriminating based on gender (i.e. being sexist)?!

Re:Both. (2, Insightful)

freemywrld (821105) | about 8 years ago | (#15546057)

There is a difference between offering opportunities that encourage groups of people who are underrepresented in various fields, and being an *ist. As an example, there are plenty of scholarships out there aimed at encouraging/helping women get into the sciences. There are many more examples of such types of programs aimed at other groups, not just women. It has nothing to do with exclusion. Men are represented in fine numbers in IT, so I don't see what all the fuss is about.

If they aren't interested... (2, Insightful)

Das Modell (969371) | about 8 years ago | (#15545869)

... then they just aren't. What's the big deal? If women largely aren't interested in programming, then they simply aren't. It's not like you can't write software without a balanced group of men and women.

Re:If they aren't interested... (3, Interesting)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | about 8 years ago | (#15545942)

Unfortunatly a lot of women arn't interested in programming (although, in this specific case I think it's more to do with women not being interested enough in programming for any Gnome stuff than just not being there).

In my entire CS degree course I appear to be the only female student who will happily do a coding project on her own time. It feels like a real shame. The girls just don't seem to realise that it can be fun to sit down and scratch an itch once in a while.

Rather than offering plain old money to get more girls interested, maybe Gnome should be thinking of more interesting problems for us to get going on and saying "hey look! This isn't all that mundane or time consuming AND you earn money for it!". Once they get a few girls working on various bits of Gnome it'll be easier to keep them doing jobs.

Re:If they aren't interested... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545956)

Yeah... but in today's liberal and PC world, we must all be the same. So, everything has to be 50/50 or else there's "something wrong with it". For some reason, it isn't possible, nor desired, for men and women to like different things. Therefore, all things must be either "fixed" or artificially seeded with women to make the ratios work out.

Re:If they aren't interested... (2, Interesting)

Das Modell (969371) | about 8 years ago | (#15546044)

All religions and cultures are the same, and men and women are the same. It would be politically incorrect to suggest that differences might exist, unless those differences are overwhelmingly positive and harmless.

That's what it feels like these days, anyway.

*embarassed* (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | about 8 years ago | (#15545875)

Okay, given the chance (and a little more notice), I probably would have done something for this.

The imbalance of Women in CS, let alone Women in CS interested in LINUX, should have clued these guys into the idea that few women would be among their soup.

The CS community at large needs to get the word out that 'Mars Needs Women', so to speak. GNOME is nice, but you've got to correct the balance in general before you can get them interested at the fringes!

Re:*embarassed* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15545994)

I'm a male who had just finished an electrical engineering degree (with a similar ratio of girls to guys as CS). There were "a few" women in the course and they had a saying that was widely considered true with regards to hooking up with their peers. "The odds are good..... but the goods are odd" c'est la vie

I say tomato.... (-1, Flamebait)

packetmon (977047) | about 8 years ago | (#15545882)

Is this sponsorship a creative way to get women interested in GNOME, or is it merely sexist? If you ask most males, they'd say its creative, many (I would think) would likely take a sexist view of it. Anyhow this "women in *nix/programming/etc" has been looked at in great depth...

"Women severely underestimate their abilities in many areas, but especially with respect to computers. One study about this topic is Undergraduate Women in Computer Science: Experience, Motivation, and Culture: /sigcse97.html []

For example, while 53% of the male computer science freshman rated themselves as highly prepared for their CS courses, 0% of the female CS freshman rated themselves similarly. But at the end of the year, 6 out the 7 female students interviewed had either an A or B average. Objective ratings (such as grade point averages or quality and speed of programming) don't agree with most women's self-estimation. I personally encountered this phenomenon: Despite plenty of objective evidence to the contrary, including grades, time spent on assignments, and high placement in a programming contest, I still didn't consider myself to be at the top of my class in college. Looking back objectively, it seems clear to me that I was performing as well or better than many of the far more confident men in my class."
(HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux []
I don't think that women are genetically built for programming - and I don't mean to sound like a chauvinist, scumbag, etc, but I don't believe that they're cut out for it which is probably why there is a shortage of women in the industry. For those that are in the industry (and I've met many), they tend to be kick ass cool and rather smart as hell, but they often feel the need to emphasize "I'm a woman... blah blah" women's lib stuff... Its like a few have chips on their shoulders. Anyway... back to doing nothing

Re:I say tomato.... (1)

lwagner (230491) | about 8 years ago | (#15545962)

> I don't think that women are genetically built for programming

And I, for one, would like to know what human genetics has to do with slogging together some crappy Perl code?

don't messenger shoot... (1)

packetmon (977047) | about 8 years ago | (#15546027)

a few of the writers on the AP Computer Science list serve suggest, that it is genetics that make white males far more interested and effective in the computer science arena [] ... Blah blah blah... We've got a problem in computer science education and it's two fold. First, we are the only curriculum area where, as Ed Lazowska said at this year's Computer Science and Information Technology Symposium attached to NECC stated, equity between young men and women is actually going in reverse. ... Since computer science is almost throwing away half of its potential enrollees by not attracting young women, many school districts are simply shutting down their computer courses. ... Now most teachers have not been just sitting on their hands and letting this situation continue. There are many groups from Carnegie Mellon's 6APT to the Northwest Girls Collaborative Project that have offered well reasoned suggestions for ways of improvement that many teachers have take to heart. ... blah blah blah

Re:I say tomato.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546002)

I don't believe that they're cut out for it ... Its like a few have chips on their shoulders.

Gee, I wonder why, DUMBASS.

Re:I say tomato.... (1)

fermion (181285) | about 8 years ago | (#15546038)

It is not uncommon, when talking to someone who believes you to be inferior, to become defensive. This defensiveness is often interpreted as having a "chip on ones shoulder".

In my experience, I have found truly competent software developers, men or women, to be in the minority. Most appear to be the equivelent of semi-skilled workers, putting together the cogs as directed by an outside supervisor. This is only to be expected as the demand for reletively low paying developers has increased, vis a vis the MS temporary contract labor model. I have also found that men in particular get very upset when women are competeing for the jobs, especially men that are not themselves extremely good at what they do.

I have worked with women in many different technical. Like men, women have different perspectvies and long term reasons for working. These reasons affect the type of work done. I know women how have gotten degrees, so as to be women of letters, and then do something that requires much less skill becuase it fits thier lifestyle better. I have known men to do the same thing.

At the end of day, I think there is a norm for each field, and the dominant players in the field consider that norm the only possible reality. It does not take that much creativity to realize that changes in norm is what has driven technological growth, but most people just want to go to work for 8 hours, do as little as possible, and draw thier pay. It in only the special few that will uspet the apple cart in hope of achieving something new and exciting.

Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper (1)

westlake (615356) | about 8 years ago | (#15546095)

I don't think that women are genetically built for programming - and I don't mean to sound like a chauvinist, scumbag, etc

Grace Murray Hopper [] Born 1906. Instructor, Vassar. 1928. PhD in Mathematics. Yale 1934. Midshipman USNR. 1943. Admiral USNR. 1946. UNIVAC. 1949. The Compiler, 1952. COBOL. 1959....

I could go on, but you should get the general idea.

Re:I say tomato.... (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | about 8 years ago | (#15546120)

don't think that women are genetically built for programming - and I don't mean to sound like a chauvinist, scumbag, etc, but I don't believe that they're cut out for it which is probably why there is a shortage of women in the industry.

I don't believe you are cut out for programing either; it requires logical reasoning. Did you even read the article you quoted? Women have simply underestimated their programming ability and have not pursued a career in CS despite their good grades. Blame idiots like yourself who can't figure out why women might be angry about being treated like they're not cut out for programming.

Re:I say tomato.... (1)

LardBrattish (703549) | about 8 years ago | (#15546133)

I don't think that women are genetically built for programming - and I don't mean to sound like a chauvinist, scumbag, etc, but I don't believe that they're cut out for it which is probably why there is a shortage of women in the industry. For those that are in the industry (and I've met many), they tend to be kick ass cool and rather smart as hell, but they often feel the need to emphasize "I'm a woman... blah blah" women's lib stuff... Its like a few have chips on their shoulders. Anyway... back to doing nothing

Why then, back in the 1960s in England were women were being preferentially recruited as programmers? It happened to my aunt. Back then women were thought to be better set genetically to be programmers & I've encountered a few of the old school female programmers in my time. Remember, coding back then wasn't glorified pixel pushing like VB it was hardcore stuff for real programmers and women held their own.

On a different thread I'm pleased to find I've got this far down without anyone claiming that Gnome has become so dumbed down only women would want to use it anymore - oops...

(Dons flameproof costume)

Why not both? (2, Insightful)

dustwun (662589) | about 8 years ago | (#15545899)

Is this sponsorship a creative way to get women interested in GNOME, or is it merely sexist?

Are these two mutually exclusive for a reason? Just because it's creative doesn't mean its not sexist, and vice versa. /I'm sure we've all witnessed some truly creative sexist behavior in our lives. Hell it was probably 10% of college.

To be fair, college was far more sexist, but far less creative in execution....

hmmm (4, Funny)

QAChaos (793637) | about 8 years ago | (#15545902)

I play a 16 year old girl on irc - does that count?

Stupid PC bullshit (2, Insightful)

Pres. Ronald Reagan (659566) | about 8 years ago | (#15545903)

Why not, oh, I don't know, GIVE THE JOBS TO THE BEST PEOPLE FOR THE JOB? Who cares if that's a man or a woman, a black or a white, or anything else. By giving it to the best women instead of the best applicants period, the people in charge are working to the detriment of the whole project.

Sexist? Are you kidding? (1)

Wolvez (13077) | about 8 years ago | (#15545921)

Perhaps they're just trying to reach out to expand the pool of applicants to give opportunities to those who otherwise wouldn't be included in the applicant pool. That's call smart hiring, not sexism.

Big Deal (3, Funny)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | about 8 years ago | (#15545922)

I reach out to women all the time.

It's them letting me touch them that's the hard part.

Re:Big Deal (5, Funny)

slashflood (697891) | about 8 years ago | (#15546006)

I reach out to women all the time. It's them letting me touch them that's the hard part.
Feel free and reach out []

Women's touch (1)

ToxikFetus (925966) | about 8 years ago | (#15545941)

Ugh, have you seen GNOME? That beast could certainly use a women's touch.

Re:Women's touch (1)

cshake (736412) | about 8 years ago | (#15546047)

At least XFCE4 is minimalist enough that it isn't fugly, but have you looked through all the themes that come with GNOME and X? Ugh! It's like they were designed by people that like more gooey junk than window content.
From the simple point of view that I use the *least annoying* window theme to me, I agree that they all need at least some sort of other touch, be it women's or graphic designer's...

Some sexism, some self-selecting (1)

Bowling Moses (591924) | about 8 years ago | (#15545945)

When I was an undergrad majoring in Mechanical Engineering, there never were more than 2 women in a class of ~30 men, and usually the two women were from overseas. Yet in high school, about half of the class in AP calculus were women. Could a lot of the women in my high school AP calc class do Mechanical Engineering? Sure. Were they interested? Hell no. That self-selection is a big part of the equation, but there's still sexism--I knew one woman who was discouraged from taking calculus in highschool because women were allegedly inferior to men in math, or so said her misogynic coach/math teacher. I ultimately switched to biochemistry, and went on to grad school. About 30-40% of the grad students were women. That gender gap at least in some sciences, especially the life sciences, is shrinking. In some cases there's actually more women than men.

Re:Some sexism, some self-selecting (2, Insightful)

tjr (908724) | about 8 years ago | (#15545975)

Right. I'm sure that there are occupations that are largely filled by women, not because men are incapable, but because, for whatever reason, men usually aren't interested. (How many junior high guys start a babysitting business, for example? The number might not be zero, but I'm sure it pales in comparison to the number of girls.)

Would it be good to have more women in science? Sure, if they're interested in doing it. If they aren't interested, then no, actually, it wouldn't be good. They should do what they have in their hearts to do, because that's what they'll excel at, and that's what they'll enjoy.

Wait a sec... (1)

Belgarion89 (969077) | about 8 years ago | (#15545958)

..does this mean women don't like short old guys with beards? I guess that explains my bad luck.

Re:Wait a sec... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546026)

and ye are probably bald, too, it all seems to go together

Gasp! (0, Flamebait)

Frightening (976489) | about 8 years ago | (#15545976)

Did anyone else read the headline and imagine a pink theme? With ponies for icons?
Please don't do this to me again.

Also, additional info for the Gnome devs who are apparently living our dream of space travel:

-Women like to go shopping

-Women can't park cars to save their lives

-When women think technology, they think microwave ovens

-Women like to yell at sexists who make generalisations about women

Re:Gasp! (0, Flamebait)

Frightening (976489) | about 8 years ago | (#15546043)

To the idiot who modded me flamebait: you didn't read the last line did you?

Linux and girlfriends (1)

ChestyLaRueGal (766941) | about 8 years ago | (#15545979)

I have been running some verision of linux (red hat, suse, ubuntu, gentoo) for about four years now. It is amazing the number of heads that turn when you mention that you run a dual boot of linux and you are a girl. I like linux and I think everyone should try some flavor. One of my favorite memories was when I was discussing what distro was best with a girlfriend of mine and her roomate came into the room and said "I never thought I would hear two girls yell about which distro is best". But I think that is what happens when you hang out in the CSci building too long.

A way to get women (1)

siriuskase (679431) | about 8 years ago | (#15545983)

It's just the outreach guys' way of trying to get to know a few good women.

The Edge Debate (2, Informative)

Quirk (36086) | about 8 years ago | (#15545989)




The above debate hosted at Edge is now a bit dated but it does a good job of looking at gender and science. Our patriarchical history in the west has given us science as envisioned by men like Sir Francis Bacon [] . It led to a reductionist deterministic heritage that we've only recently begun to break free of. Women in general in the west are only a century or more free of being chattles to be disposed of by their fathers. I hope we'll see women bring to science a different mind set and new insights.

just my loose change

Who cares? (2, Insightful)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 8 years ago | (#15545990)

Equality is the *OPPORTUNITY* to do everything a man does, not the necessity of doing it. Women are able to enter CS and the contest with no discrimination, therefore, there is equality. When I got a CS degree there were *VERY* few women, and I think all but one in my class dropped out (this is at a college with a 30% graduation rate though).

I have *NEVER* met a male nursing student, and I know quite a few nursing students. Nobody gives a crap about that?

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

russellh (547685) | about 8 years ago | (#15546104)

Opportunity is complex. We're not a bunch of individuals, we're members of different overlapping social groups. We need peer acceptance. If none of our groups include anything having to do with science, we won't or can't consider it. In other words, we don't have the opportunity. Very few people strike out on their own; nobody is self-made. Everyone needs a support network. It takes a village to raise a child, etc. Reaching out across the gap like this is a good thing, it creates this opportunity that the individual may not have realized or for whatever reason did not understand was there in the first place.

For geeks to catcall and harp on genetics etc does nothing but reinforce social divisions, keeping talent away. I don't know what I'd be doing if I didn't have the opportunity to learn programming. I'm sure there are more than a few awesomely talented women who would really thrive here.

Forget the women... get some linux apps first. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 8 years ago | (#15545991)

Seriously. Women? This is silly.

Concentrate on writing a real Photoshop like program, a real video editing program on par with Avid, Final Cut, Premiere, or Vegas.

Keep hacking at OpenOffice

Get a 3D accelerated UI before Vista, and make it the standard gui.

Make it easier to adopt linux period. Easier install methods, less dependency hell.

Image is a good start, i agree with that but not just for women... try the Apple approach. Make it cool for all.

The problem is Mac OS has REAL applications. Shake (linux version thank god) Photoshop, Final Cut etc.

Linux still needs get over that hill i think. Its close, but its not for everyone, and its certainly not for women who arent IT brainiacs. And those women dont need any help with linux.

They could run around me in the dam thing i'm sure... but i wont use linux until it gets a little neater.

So will it work? (1)

mike_the_kid (58164) | about 8 years ago | (#15545997)

It looks like most of the comments so far are about whether or not its sexist.

I think its more interesting to think about how things would be different if designed by women. I don't think they will be adopting the Slashdot April 1 theme, but to the other extreme, I'd imagine if that there was a 'Linux for Women' it would be different in many respects. So diversifying the gender of the developers might have a positive effect.

Also, I would think that this would attract some fairly talented women. So maybe the most beneficial aspect of this will be the quality of the people it attracts, regardless of their gender.

How times have changed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546010)

A hundred years ago, we thought that Snow White interfacing with seven dwarfs was pretty risque.

Unique (2, Interesting)

AndresCP (979913) | about 8 years ago | (#15546013)

Is GNOME Unique in its lack of female...popularity, for lack of a better word? I was under the impression that it was mainly because few girls major in computer science and the like; in that case, sponsorships don't make sense because it's part of a larger trend. Maybe, on the other hand, that's completely wrong, and the comp sci classes are FULL of girls, and they all hate GNOME. I doubt it, though. I would have seen these girls in class, probably.

It's a great idea (5, Funny)

MrCawfee (13910) | about 8 years ago | (#15546015)

Can you imagine how bad it would smell if 188 geeks were in the same place?

Having a woman may convince 25% of them to take a shower.

Sadly those 25% are going to be the ones who already have the ability to get a girl, and they'd smell the best in the first place.

Is it sexist? (4, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | about 8 years ago | (#15546017)

Why does everything have to be balanced? Obviously there shouldn't be extra barriers for one sex over the other, but I have a problem with the attitude that all professions need an equal amount of each sex. Do men that go into nursing get a preference because there's more women than men? (An honest question). There seems to be this hypothesis that bias can be eliminated by giving the group that's not equally represented a preference. But we seem to ignore the idea that the hypothesis has never really been shown to be true. I guess I believe in equal opportunities and equal treatment, but I don't believe in more than equal.

I've never been a big believer that bias can be cured by more bias. Affirmative action only leads to people thinking that a miss-represented group of people were only hired because of affirmative action. That kind of defeats the whole purpose. The article brings up issues like women not having same-sex role models. What I think the problem is that we feel the need to have to have a same sex role model. Why can't a Finnish woman look at Linus Torvalds as a role model? A woman from Finland probbably has more in common with him than me, a man born and raised in the US. If you ask me, that's the root of sexism. Trying to fix it with some patchwork of giving a few extra slots to women really won't do much of anything except maybe make some people at Gnome feel a bit better about themselves. If they want to do it, great, but don't try to tell me they're helping solve the problem, because they ain't.

Oh I get it (4, Funny)

teslatug (543527) | about 8 years ago | (#15546040)

They'll get some girls to pose for the wallpapers right :)

thumbs up to gnome (1)

ystar (898731) | about 8 years ago | (#15546045)

Any such effort is a step in the right direction; I don't think suggesting it may be 'sexist' really serves to add anything other than fodder for stimulating discussion. That's just my opinion, though. In any case, it's an uphill battle unless schools start to foster better science programs for kids in elementary and junior high school - gnome as an organization isn't responsible for providing the money to do this, but their userbase (us) has the power to do so. Call your senators! Getting even more OT, there are a lot of women entering into science and tech fields, but too often it only happens when there's a dad who is in science too (or for the current generation, a granddad)...

Re:thumbs up to gnome (1)

Toresica (788403) | about 8 years ago | (#15546124)

Getting even more OT, there are a lot of women entering into science and tech fields, but too often it only happens when there's a dad who is in science too (or for the current generation, a granddad)...

Not necessarily... my parents have degrees in geography, I'm an engineering student.

Of Course it's Sexist (4, Insightful)

LionKimbro (200000) | about 8 years ago | (#15546053)

Of course it's sexist, it's a discrimination based on sex, isn't it?

What it clearly isn't, is supremacist.

Racism and sexism and all these other discriminations are perfectly acceptable, and even commendable in many cases, such as this one.

The problems these kinds of integration efforts solve are:
  • Combatting against supremacism.
  • Adjusting the comfort & role-model & mentoring loop.

Flamebait (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | about 8 years ago | (#15546056)

Most any science department will tell you that the amount of interest and involvement of women pales next to men of similar age and background.

It's always nice to have some unsubstantiated flamebait in the story summary. How about reporting what's happening instead of inserting dubious sociological commentary?

Sexist (1)

Unsus (901072) | about 8 years ago | (#15546070)

So, most women do not care about participating in OSS projects. As a result, even if there is one female that is mildly interested, she'll get the job over a more qualified male just due to the fact that females are less interested in the industry. Anytime you make a disparity between men and women, then you're being sexist.

Not Sexist. (4, Insightful)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | about 8 years ago | (#15546073)

Women sometimes think and work a bit differently than men do, so getting a woman's input into how things work is useful to promoting World Dominance (tm) for Linux. If they had 50% (or even 30%) participation by women, then I'd say they were being sexist, but at 0% there's a real, practical value to getting at least some input from the fairer sex.

There would also be some real practical value to figuring out why (structurally speaking) there is so little female participation.

It shouldn't start with the Summer of Code (4, Insightful)

kitanai (966388) | about 8 years ago | (#15546077)

I'm a woman in IT. I'm a developer. And I think it's sexist. If I were in the USA, I might have applied, however i'm not, i'm in New Zealand.

Regardless, programs like this miss the point entirely. The main problem is not a lack of female applicants, its the lack of women in IT. This does not stem from a lack of funding or information - we all have access to the internet.

It stems from the basic belief that computers are a mans domain, and that even if a woman is a programmer extra-curricular activities concerning programming is taking it too far. The solution to this problem is to change peoples attitude toward technology-related sciences, not to throw money at it.

When I first showed interest in computers as a child, it was frowned upon by most of my family in a big way. Change it there, and there will be more openly geeky girl IT grads that will participate in the community without the need for extra money being thrown at them.

Re:It shouldn't start with the Summer of Code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546136)

will you marry me?

It's in the Charter... (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | about 8 years ago | (#15546084)

In Canada, equal-opportunity programs are specifically mentioned in section 15 (2) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms [] , as being a justified exception to section 15(1), which prohibits discrimination.

While I understand that this only applies to government programs, the fact of the matter is that in 1981, a heck of a lot of educated, elected white men had to agree on it for it to be included. So as I see it, either you agree with the judgement of rich white men, or you disagree with them (in which case you're probably not one, and would ironically be better represented through equal opportunity).

Kudos to Google for noticing that there were no women applicants, and acting on it. In my job and where I volunteer I often find that the best positions are usually held by straight white men (myself included) and at every opportunity, I try to improve representation.

- RG>

Plain stupid (2, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15546094)

Why do people (maybe just Americans) find it so hard to believe that there are things that women in general don't like. Men in general don't like getting hit in the groin: but if you do some Googling you'll see that there are a few guys who like it. Maybe women in general just don't like that sort of things. I see absolutely nothing wrong in that. Women are _not_ equal to men. If you believe in religion I believe no maintream religion shows women to be equal. If you believe purely in evolution, then you can most certainly see that men and women ae not equal. BUT I do believe that men and women are equivalent, and so have equal right, etc. They genders can be unequal but still's one will die.

Maybe they should rename the command line (1)

SensitiveMale (155605) | about 8 years ago | (#15546109)

from Command Line Interface to the Command Line Interface Terminal.

Just to make the ladies comfortable and the OS a bit more feminine.

Irony (3, Funny)

zandermander (563602) | about 8 years ago | (#15546135)

Does anyone else see irony in an article where there is an apparent attempt to bring more women into the OSS community being tagged "Gnome, Chicks, Women"?
Oh, wait - I just reloaded the page and the "Chicks" tag is now gone!
Guess that means I'm not the only one who noticed...

women and pandering. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15546139)

i've worked with women for 30 some odd years, and for every quality female worker i've met there've been dozens, if not hundreds, of complete losers...just earning a check. incompetent. don't get me wrong...plenty of men are losers too, but the rate seems a lot higher for the ladies.

when i say "quality" i mean they are gutsy, take chances, do cutting edge things, speak their mind, get things done.

the rest are just "sheeple"--half sheep, half human. great for sex but little else.

there is something of a "pandering" personality in many women. the average woman seems willing to let stupidity enter a given task if it makes people "feel better"...reduces tension...whereas a lot of men will just say "that's not the optimal way to do it, redo..." -- even if someones toes get stepped on or an ego gets bruised.

i figure its an inbred trait, the result of generations of women helping whiny little people who have a lot of growing up to do (aka children) feel better about themselves. It a great trait for someone working at a daycare center, not so good for a project leader or technical person who needs to stick with the facts, not feelings or emotion.

most of the high quality women i've met were very strong personality wise...a few owned handguns, were pilots, ex-military officers, and usually had a strong father in the house when they were growing up.
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