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Fedora Welcomes Women to FOSS

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the ladies-first dept.

339

nman64 writes "The Fedora Project, the project behind the Fedora Core Linux distribution, has introduced Fedora Women, a program to reach out to women who are interested in using and contributing to Fedora Core. This follows in the footsteps of LinuxChix, Debian Women, and Ubuntu Women and is part of a larger trend to support women in the FOSS world. At present, women are believed to make up only about 1.5% of the FOSS community. Is that finally set to change?"

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My only thoughts on this... (3, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806149)

This thread is useless without pics.

Re:My only thoughts on this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806190)

To summarize: oxymorons.

Re:My only thoughts on this... (3, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806217)

FreeBSD wins so far with this [mbrix.dk]

Re:My only thoughts on this... (0)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806463)

Every one of those cheesecake shots should be emblazoned 'photoshop tweaks dig linux' or something like that.

Re:My only thoughts on this... (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806226)

Are you sure? Something tells me that on the 1-10 scale, they average somewhere near male linux geeks. I mean, they're more likely to build the webserver for the porn site than feature on it. :)

Re:My only thoughts on this... (0, Redundant)

plate of felt (705944) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806295)

Hey! Some of us do both!

Re:My only thoughts on this... (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806364)

geekgangbangs.com doesn't count ....

Re:My only thoughts on this... (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806352)

This thread is useless without pics.

First post. First joke. And in six words you sum up every stereotype of the Geek.

Re:My only thoughts on this... (1)

Etnie (11105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806407)

My thoughts exactly. I read it as "Women of FOSS" and thought Playboy had come up with another wacky pictorial idea.

Re:My only thoughts on this... (1)

mad_minstrel (943049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806421)

Well if there were pics the women would be wearing fedoras anyway...

Re:My only thoughts on this... (2, Insightful)

Xemu (50595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806606)

This thread is useless without pics.

Comments like this is exactly why women stay out of computing, that women programmers are reduced to their sex. Nobody would dare to make sexist jokes about male programmers!

Little confused about the membership requirements (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806150)

Why exactly do they need a set of nude photos?

Re:Little confused about the membership requiremen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806362)

the real question is why aren't you willing to provide them?

Re:Little confused about the membership requiremen (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806591)

Let's leave the sexual objectification to FreeBSD, shall we?

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806159)

What is this woman that they speak about?

Artificial (1, Insightful)

trifish (826353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806165)

Why do you encourage or even force them? Let them decide naturally what they want to do. Women don't force use men to breast-feed either. Respect people's natural inclinations and interests.

Re:Artificial (1, Insightful)

albalbo (33890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806211)

Interesting that you mention "force"; doesn't seem to me that Fedora Women forces women to be involved with Fedora.

As for "why encourage", maybe you'd like to start to explain why Google's Summer of Code had zero women applicants, whereas Gnome's Women's Summer Outreach Programme had a great number of applicants, when the two programmes were basically the same.

Claiming women's "natural inclination" or interest is to not participate in free software projects is about as sexist a viewpoint as you can possibly achieve.

Re:Artificial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806246)

"Claiming women's "natural inclination" or interest is to not participate in free software projects is about as sexist a viewpoint as you can possibly achieve."

In fairness, he/she claimed no such thing. Please re-read.

Re:Artificial (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806281)

> In fairness, he/she claimed no such thing. Please re-read.

Thanks.

Re:Artificial (1, Troll)

trifish (826353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806302)

Claiming women's "natural inclination" or interest is to not participate in free software projects is about as sexist a viewpoint as you can possibly achieve.

You do realize that there are differences between men and women? Biological and psychic. Women can give birth, men can't. Women also have different interests than men. Without any doubt, their interests and talents are given by thousands of years of evolution. Trying to "defeat" nature is ridiculous and actually a feminist approach.

Re:Artificial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806324)

How is the parent poster trolling I completely fail to understand. He just stated obvious and well known facts and his opinion on the facts.

(Well very likely the meta-moderators will take care of this "moderator". Just wait when you recieve the message "your moderation was rated as unfair".)

Re:Artificial (1, Interesting)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806449)

The point is that this kind of difference isn't necessarily natural. It's more likely to be cultural or social, meaning there's no good reason not to encourage them to participate.

Mankind's tendency to assume that most traits are 'just natural' is where we got things like slavery and the holocaust from.

Re:Artificial (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806515)

Ah, yes, the Nazis. Whenever on the losing side of an argument, try and cast your opponent as sharing the views of the Nazis.

Mankind's tendency to assume that most traits are 'just natural' is where we got things like slavery and the holocaust from.
 
::snickers:: Mankind's? MANKIND'S?! What kind of sexist pig are you!

But seriously, slavery and the holocaust weren't exactly based on any real scientific data. No real tests were done to attempt to isolate race and religion from environmental factors.

When it comes to gender, tests have been done that attempt to control all variables except gender. And it has been discovered, amazingly enough, that men and women generally have different instincts.

That this is surprising to anyone who knows the words "estrogen" and "testosterone" is amazing. Men and women have different chemical makeups. Their brains function differently. Their hormones are different. Men and women are, amazingly enough, different! It should come as no surprise that men and women, by and large, have different interests.

The leap from that conclusion to "women shouldn't" is a falacy. Just because most women aren't interested in computers doesn't mean that no women can be interested in computers. However, it does mean you shouldn't be surprised when a computer-related event fails to see any large interest from women. It's simple statistics.

Trying to force anyone to be interested in things they simply aren't is morally wrong. There's nothing wrong with women statistically enjoying certain fields more than men. There's nothing wrong with men statistically enjoying certain fields more than women. It is natural and something that should be expected, not something that should be fought.

Re:Artificial (2)

trifish (826353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806344)

As for "why encourage", maybe you'd like to start to explain why Google's Summer of Code had zero women applicants

That's easy to explain (and already was in the OP). It's because nobody encouraged women explicitly. They let them choose naturally. And the result was that girls didn't want to participate. They weren't interested. Do you get the point?

Re:Artificial (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806365)

Exactly. They encouraged people to participate. That includes men and women. It's kind of says something when they have to specifically target women to get any response at all. In my software engineering program there was only about 6 girls. And half of them were there just cause they wanted to make a lot of money, not because they liked computers. I'm not sure why it's this way, but it just is. The same reason you see less men in Nursing or child care. It's not a bad thing, just that men and women like different things.

Re:Artificial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806387)

Exactly. There are natural differences between men and women. I just wonder why when you say this on Slashdot you are modded as troll.

Re:Artificial (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806439)

In general, I hate this kind of thing. My university had a Women's Officer[1], but no male equivalent. When one of the candidates approached me at election time, I was told 'women make up 52% of the population, and we need to protect this minority.' In general, my feeling is that I don't want anyone doing things because there is an outreach program for them; if you're not going to do something because it's what you enjoy, then please don't bother. If women, or men, want to develop F/OSS then that's great. If they don't, then encouraging them to do so for the wrong reason really won't help.

This is a special case, however. A community being less than 2% female is more than natural self-selection. I suspect that a number of women have tried to get involved, but been repulsed by the community. Look at this Slashdot article; the first post was a comment asking for pictures. Now, as someone who has been around Slashdot for a while, I can be fairly sure that this was meant in jest, but this is exactly the kind of thing that would make a woman interested in joining the community leave.

There are, secretly, at least two women[1] who post on Slashdot. If you look at any thread where they make a reference to their gender, even indirectly, then you will see a huge number of 'wow, look! A girl!' posts. These are often followed by a load of accusatory posts ('you only hang out here because you have low self-esteem and you want to be fawned over by geeks'). It's small wonder that most of the female population of Slashdot tries hard not to draw attention to the fact.

This kind of program is not intended to encourage women to participate in the geek community, so much as to prevent the ones who want to become involved from running away. This, I think, is a sensible objective.


[1] Or FBI agents; it's difficult to tell on the Internet sometimes.

Re:Artificial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806483)

[1] Or FBI agents; it's difficult to tell on the Internet sometimes.

FBI agents are easy to spot. In a chat group the teen age girls all want to talk about school and boys. The FBI agents are the ones with posts like "I'm a 13 year old girl that is looking for a father figure that wants to transports me across state lines."

Re:Artificial (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806496)

There are, secretly, at least two women[1] who post on Slashdot. If you look at any thread where they make a reference to their gender, even indirectly, then you will see a huge number of 'wow, look! A girl!' posts. These are often followed by a load of accusatory posts ('you only hang out here because you have low self-esteem and you want to be fawned over by geeks'). It's small wonder that most of the female population of Slashdot tries hard not to draw attention to the fact.

Have you considered the possibility that online communities tend to have a lot of flames, especially by bitter little trolls? Anyone who seperates themselves out from the crowd would probably attract the same flames.

Re:Artificial (2, Interesting)

dasunt (249686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806510)

FWIW, I've been in (free beer, not OS) projects where the number of women make a sizeable percentage of the total number of people involved. But those projects were MUDS (text-based games which tend to rely on well-written descriptions).

Re:Artificial (3, Insightful)

shreevatsa (845645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806485)

Let them decide naturally what they want to do.

Axiom 1: People do what they want to do.
Axiom 2: It would help to have more people doing X.
Corollaries of Axiom 2: (i) It would help to have more women doing X. (ii) It would help to have more men doing X. (iii) It would help to have more people from $ethnic_community doing X.
From these, it follows (among other things): It would help if more women wanted to do X. In other words, it would help if women were encouraged to do X.
Encouragement is never bad. If you (or enough people) feel that it would be good/useful to encourage men too, go ahead.

Also, have you ever considered that "natural" inclinations may depend not only on biological/genetic/evolutionary factors but also on societal/psychological/community factors? Since we can't change the former, we try to change the latter and see if it makes a difference. Every group that decides it wants more women (or $ethnic_community, or whatever) is free to encourage more women (or ...) to join it. Have you considered that the reason there are very few women in field X might precisely be that it is considered "unnatural" for them to have inclinations towards it, and that if this perception were changed, more women might be naturally inclined towards it? Maybe we would also have more male nurses and more male teachers and more girls interested in mechanics and sports and ..., if there wasn't much societal prejudice? (I do not make any pronouncement on whether this would be a good thing or not, to avoid the sort of replies that this would otherwise inevitably get.)


(In summary, maybe "natural" isn't so natural after all? Also, somewhat offtopic, see this [j-walk.com] and then this [snopes.com] for something that would be "natural" once but seems very out-of-place today ;) )

Fedora women? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806168)

I propose the name Beaver Fedora [wikipedia.org]

It's not right to care. (4, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806173)

There are in fact a number of female kernel developers. They tend to go by their initials rather than revealing their first names. There is no bias if people can't even tell.

Not that it should matter! If they like being developers, cool. If not, oh well.

There is also Andrea, who is male. It's an Italian thing, OK?

why (0, Redundant)

celardore (844933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806177)

Why on Earth is this needed? I'm all for equal opportunities and everything, but does further segregation of the sexes help any cause?

Some things are always going to be *generally* one sex or the other. For example, men like mechanics and sports. Women like ponies and getting their nails done. Obviously not hard and fast examples.

Men like to be nerds, women like to be in the real world more.

Re:why (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806194)

I was with you up until that "real world" statement. Many aspects of the nerd world are far truer realizations of the "real world" than their pop cultured feeding tube counterpart.

Re:why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806274)

Some things are always going to be *generally* one sex or the other. For example, men like mechanics and sports. Women like ponies and getting their nails done.

If you're not trolling, that's an incredibly dumb thing to say. Maybe if people didn't have your bias it wouldn't be so difficult for women in sports and mechanics, say, to have such a hard time to be accepted. Nor would women who have no interest in ponies or getting their nails done have to become furious when meeting people like you. That you say "obviously not hard and fast examples" is no excuse, although it succinctly makes clear that you cannot actually provide such examples, making your post ironic as well as dumb.

Sad all around.

Re:why (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806592)

Some assole is going to come around and say that you're trolling ignore them. Because you're right on point.

Great (1)

paulius_g (808556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806179)

That's a really nice insensitive. I would sure wish that more women were involved in computing, and actually interested by it. Almost 80% of the woman I met use the computer just for chatting to their friends through instant messenging.

Having a woman's touch on a software would be really great. I sure hope this project is a success and brings some great woman into OSS.

Re:Great (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806206)

Almost 80% of the woman I met use the computer...

Let me gess, your sisteer and her 3 friends use the computer to chat, but your mom doesnt.

Uh, that'll sum ur 100% wont it :)

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806325)

That's a really nice insensitive.

Insensitive [reference.com] or nice [reference.com] -- make up your mind! :)

Re:Great (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806370)

Having a woman's touch on a software would be really great.

Having a woman touch a software programmer would be greater.

Re:Great (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806493)

Having a woman's touch on a software would be really great.

What exactly do you mean by that? The rest of your comment makes sense, but what is 'a woman's touch' on software?

so offer members free chocolate at each meeting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806183)

** where "free chocolate" is a matter of liberty, not price.

This probably isn't set to change significantly (3, Insightful)

chatgris (735079) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806184)

Having been in university for about 4 years, from observation, the number of women in CIS classes is usually about 2/50, 4%. (Except for the first year CIS classes that are mandatory for science students). Officially, the CIS department here is concerned since only 3.7% of the people graduating from the CIS program are women. Of the women in the department I know, (and I know most of them, it's not hard to when there are so few) there's only one of them that might be interested in working on an open source program. And these numbers come from a university that overall has one of the highest percentage of women enrolled in Canada (University of Guelph). It's almost all female in this university, when men are required for surveys CIS classes are specially targetted for participants.

Given these figures, I really doubt that any shortage of women is due to sexism in FOSS projects... From what I can see, most people working in FOSS projects are generally fairly liberal anyways and accepting of women.

Josh

I'd like to think so (2, Insightful)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806187)

I'd like to think that more women will become involved with FOSS, although I'm not sure how exactly that will happen. There is still a huge gap in the numbers of men and women in CS programs, and there are other cultural factors, especially in the teenage years, that pressure females to not engage in "nerdy" activities like programming (which is seen to be asocial, even though FOSS development is quite social).

On a more contraversial note, it seems to me that a lot of FOSS is driven by a very... male... obsessiveness. It is the experience of myself and my collegues that female programmers tend not to be "computer geeks," in the sense that when 5:00 rolls around, they are done programming for the day - no hobby coding, no /.ing, nothing. That does not mean it's true of all females, but even if a majority of female programmers are like this (which it seems to be), that's a huge chunk out of an already tiny share. Combine this with the fact that working women are still (somehow) expected by their husbands to do more of the housework and childcare... yeah I'm not so optimistic.

Of course I, for one, would welcome our new female FOSS overlords, but I think that's probably a long way off.

You are a GENIUS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806228)

I'd like to think that more women will become involved with FOSS, although I'm not sure how exactly that will happen. There is still a huge gap in the numbers of men and women in CS programs, and there are other cultural factors, especially in the teenage years, that pressure females to not engage in "nerdy" activities like programming (which is seen to be asocial, even though FOSS development is quite social).

On a more contraversial note, it seems to me that a lot of FOSS is driven by a very... male... obsessiveness. It is the experience of myself and my collegues that female programmers tend not to be "computer geeks," in the sense that when 5:00 rolls around, they are done programming for the day - no hobby coding, no /.ing, nothing. That does not mean it's true of all females, but even if a majority of female programmers are like this (which it seems to be), that's a huge chunk out of an already tiny share. Combine this with the fact that working women are still (somehow) expected by their husbands to do more of the housework and childcare... yeah I'm not so optimistic.

Of course I, for one, would welcome our new female FOSS overlords, but I think that's probably a long way off.

I can see why you have a Cornell.edu address. You are fucking brilliant. Your post is one the most most brilliant attempts at Karma Whoring I have EVER seen! You go all PC (suporting women, F/OSS(which is PC on /.))!

Fucking Brilliant! You Madam or Sir WILL be extremely succesful! And I'm a pathetic loser who's jealous.

Re:I'd like to think so (3, Interesting)

dch24 (904899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806258)

This may not catch every woman in FOSS, but it provides them with a community. And if this is run by men, it is probably doomed. Then again, anonymity is something that women might value even more than men, for any reasons you can think of. And you're spot-on about FOSS progress coming from the obsessive streak in many men.

There are some intangible benefits to contributing to FOSS which might attract some women, like developing a better resume or making professional connections. However, I don't think women will contribute under much of the rationale that men do: scratch an itch, bragging rights, altruism, or even stick-it-to-the-M$.

These programs won't have a major effect on the percentage of women contributing to FOSS. (Is there even a good way of measuring that?) If men wanted to attract women to contribute, they would advertise. There are a lot of businesswomen in marketing. QED

No, it's not about to change (5, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806195)

The underlying assumption of programs such as this is that women are too insecure or too intimidated to do something they want to do unless somebody sets up a program to cajole thing into feeling comfortable. That's nuts. Women do whatever they happen to enjoy -- as individuals -- and men do the same. Some people just can't get over the fact that vastly more men than women want to develop software (or create hardware or whatever). Why is this so threatening to them? Because it goes against their deep-seated belief that everyone is born identical and it's only culture that makes us want different things. That's bull and it's always been bull. Men and women are different in some key ways -- on AVERAGE. There are some very brilliant women who care deeply about IT work, but the vast majority don't. That's not going to change, even for the ones who are plenty bright enough to do it.

If you think you need to set up programs to beg certain segments of the population that other people do because it's fun and exciting and rewarding to them, you're out of touch with reality about what makes people tick. Let the people who WANT to do technical work do it, whether they're men, women, black, white, pink or purple. It's about individual choice, not about counting numbers of certain groups.

David

Re:No, it's not about to change (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806241)

And yet, after KDE set up a site for women (by women), there was an increase in the number of women who participated. It is possible that it was due to the growth in KDE, but ....

One last thing, Read the earlier postings. I think that if were a women, that I might get tired of the attitudes that are demonstrated here.

Re:No, it's not about to change (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806377)

I still think that such programs, be they for OSS, or for a school, or for an apprenticeship are wrong by design.

Why?

Both women and men have the ability to choose what they want to do (restricted, of course, by their social class). Encouraging women (or men, for that matter) to do something which they aren't really interested in, brings the wrong people into such programs.

People that have no natural interest into a topic. That doesn't mean that people attracted by such programs will always be inferior to naturally interested people - but it's more often than not the case.

IT never is a 9-5 job. Doing more than 9-5 requires a real interest in whatever you're doing (and a work environment which appreciates your efforts). OSS specifically is *never* a 9-5 *just-in-for-the-money* kind of thing.

Of course, we all know that there isn't a 50:50 split in technology jobs.

Why?

Because our society and our systems instills several values into our children. This is what makes nerds unpopular losers, and the quarterback a popular, well, uhm, quarterback. The same doctrine also applies to our interests.

Of course, a valid follow-up question would be if this system is broken. I don't think so. Even if you're a "loser", you're not going to die because of lack of food or housing. Heck, you might even have better house or car than the "quarterback".

So, this is my conclusion:

If you don't like the results of our system, don't try to change the results. Try to change the system.

But that would require actual effort.

Re:No, it's not about to change (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806497)

You seem to be misunderstanding my point. I'm not saying that you can't bump up the percentage of women (or left-handed people or albinos or Lutherans) working on a project by catering to them. I'm merely saying there is no reason to -- and that the people who care about a project or activity will find it by their own free will. We don't need to worry about recruiting to match any particular demographic mix.

David

I, for one (0)

DylanLeigh (991089) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806585)

welcome our new Female overlords.

Re:No, it's not about to change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806310)

Women do whatever they happen to enjoy -- as individuals
Women enjoy working with other women.

Re:No, it's not about to change (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806337)

Agreed 100%. As a straight guy, I'd love there to be way more women developers. But I think schemes like this are just pure sexist idiocy. "Hey, let's mollycoddle the poor little girls because they can't handle it when we treat them as equals". Fucking nonsense.

Re:No, it's not about to change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806397)

The underlying assumption of programs such as this is that women are too insecure or too intimidated to do something they want to do unless somebody sets up a program to cajole thing into feeling comfortable. That's nuts. Women do whatever they happen to enjoy -- as individuals -- and men do the same. Some people just can't get over the fact that vastly more men than women want to develop software (or create hardware or whatever). Why is this so threatening to them? Because it goes against their deep-seated belief that everyone is born identical and it's only culture that makes us want different things. That's bull and it's always been bull. Men and women are different in some key ways -- on AVERAGE. There are some very brilliant women who care deeply about IT work, but the vast majority don't. That's not going to change, even for the ones who are plenty bright enough to do it.

No doubt there are biological differences between men and women that entail different dispositions. However, there can also be little doubt that societal roles, exceptations and pressure are a large part of the equation. Your argument about women's natural disinclination towards things software related could just as well have been made (and was made!) 200 years ago regarding their aptitude and inclination towards, say, mathematics. But times change. Even so, you can see remnants of cultural biases even between different countries. Why do you think Eastern European countries have more than 50% female mathematicians while in the US the figure is not even half? Because men and women aren't born identical, or because cultural practices make women in the US uninterested in or intimidated by a career in math? I don't know the figures for software development, but I would guess that it shows similar tendencies. That is, it is far more common in Eastern European countries for women to be programmers than in the US. How could you possibly account for such differences except for with reference to cultural norms?

I think I will never understand why people can only see one side of this issue. The radical feminists are wrong -- there are innate differences. But people like you are also wrong, because you don't know exactly how pronounced such differences are. Is the "natural state" to have 1.5% female programmers? 10%? 40%? You don't know, and most likely, you never will. Therefore your resistance to outreach programs of this sort must be based not on any actual fact, but more on and ungrounded belief in the idea that we have now reached the point where cultural biases amount for so little that there is no obstacle to people who want to pursue careers and interests outside stereotypical gender roles.

Let me ask you this, in all sincerity: if you found one day that you weren't interested in computers anymore, but rather in, say, manicure, would you not feel at least a slight resistance towards the idea of devoting the rest of your life to something you know would be so far from the traditional conception of what a "man's man" is supposed to like? That "slight resistence" is what projects like Fedora Women tries to overcome.

Re:No, it's not about to change (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806459)

Actually the answer to your question about Eastern European women is very easy. Until recently, women in those countries didn't have the CHOICE about what to pursue. They were steered by the state into whatever the state deemed the best use of their talents and intelligence. So what you're pointing to is a culture where people didn't have choice. They were forced into certain areas. Is that what you're advocating instead of individual choice? Odd argument.

Of course, there are cultural things that reinforce tendencies. The vast majority of those truly interested in IT careers are men, but there are quite a few brilliant women who pursue technical careers anyway. If you beg women to work in IT, you'll move the percentages slightly, but WHY is this a good thing? Just let people do whatever the heck they WANT to do. There is no reason to care that different percentages of the sexes are attracted to different industries. The women who are truly interested in the tech world are going to get there. I doubt anybody ever begged Ellen Hancock not to be intimidated and "pretty please, come play with the boys." :-)

As for your other question, I do whatever I'm attracted to. I've been a journalist, a consultant and a filmmaker. I'm not in IT full-time and don't want to be. If I had a serious interest in manicure tomorrow, I'd pursue it, because I don't care about gender roles. Some people (both men and women) ARE intimidated by cultural norms. So what? That's their decision.

David

Re:No, it's not about to change (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806502)

There are some very brilliant women who care deeply about IT work,

Yes, but what does 'IT work' have to do with FOSS?

When I hear 'IT' I think of paper clips, and the guy with the metal cart who can't seem to keep the toner cartrige current on the fricking LJ4 up on third floor. You know, office equipment, file clerks, mundane and boring tasks.

When I think of FOSS it has nothing to do with luzers wheeling around Optiplexes on carts.

Re:No, it's not about to change (1)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806546)

See, the problem with debates like these, is that people polarize and jump to odd conclusions.

While parent is right, there is variability of who just has some fundamental base level of interest in computers and geekery, there is still a vastly disproportionate number of men in computer science. The reason for this is cultural. And actually this thread is a fantastic demonstration of the problem. What's the first post? A request for pics. And then the remainder of the thread is littered with comments, labeled as 'funny', talking about female software developers as potential girlfriends.

There is something deeply wrong with how geeks think about women, even if they acknowledge that women are every bit as average as men are. I don't think this is particularly surprising given the patriarchal views that western society presents to its children, but i think denying that it exists is a little much.

I've seen a majority of my female friends who are every bit as qualfied as i am to code, give up because they think guy geeks are jerks. And i don't blame them (hell i agree that a lot of guy geeks are jerks). If you don't like the people who you're going to work with, i'd say it's pretty reasonable to change jobs, or even professions. (and really this is an issue that is amplified in education. If you have to sit through 4 years of people who make you uncomfortable on a daily basis, then wouldn't you think about choosing a different program to do a degree in, if there are other things that you would be just as happy doing? Once you're trained and have already chosen a path it can be harder to get out of, or easier to rationalize why you're in it, but while you're in college, there are a lot of options, and if one looks like it's going to be crap, most people will switch out of that program.)

So implicitely (2, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806196)

Women are less skilled, less talented and thus should be helped and encouraged to participate in FOSS...
But if they are maybe it's not a good idea to do thay...
And if they're not then why the need for affirmative action?

Every discrimination is stupid.

Not at all (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806390)

Inclination doesn't mean lack of talent. That only follows if you think the only talented people do IT.

If someone doesn't generally desire to do something, that doesn't mean I'm necessarily bad at it.

Now, apptitude and enjoyment often go hand in hand. But not always.

Re:Not at all (0, Flamebait)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806531)

That only follows if you think the only talented people do IT.

Only losers do 'IT.'

Talented people hack real time embedded code, and write multimedia apps, and all kinds of cool stuff.

'IT' is crackle-finish filing cabinets and the tards working at the help desk.

And people who take 'certificates' like an MSCE serious....

Think about it. And if it makes you mad, maybe you're misclassifying yourself as 'IT' when you're really something more. Or maybe you're in a rut with a crummy job and it's time to widen your future.

Colbert, is that you? (2, Insightful)

dominion (3153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806405)


Thank you for brilliantly illustrating why programs like this are sorely needed.

Re:Colbert, is that you? (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806552)

I am saying this programs are sexist and damageable to women image. They make women feel like second class citizen in OSS. In the end they might have the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve.

Re:So implicitely (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806471)

Did you read the first post in this article? It was asking for pictures. Would you want to be a member of a group where the first thing people were interested in was your appearance, not your ability? Sure, the first post was probably a joke; you know that and I know that, but would a woman who was thinking of joining the community but didn't yet know it well?

I wouldn't be at all surprised if a lot of women are interested in joining F/OSS communities, but are repulsed by the behaviour of the members. And it's not just women. I know of a few people who tried Linux or *BSD and were sent back to Windows by the 'STF n00b! RTFM' attitude of members of those communities.

Re:So implicitely (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806501)

They're free to do as they want. The GPL can be used by anyone, they don't have to "join" anything.

If I were a girl I would be more offended by an unnatural "Welcome, we don't act this way naturally but you're a girl so we'll try and be nice" attitude than a few stupid jokes.

Why ? (1)

JuicyBrain (977451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806197)

I don't understand why we should PUSH to get women into FOSS or anywhere else in the world of IT. Not that I care... I mean, they are welcome but, isn't this the kind of thing you do just because you want to ? I never saw an urge to get boys interested in Barbie, did you ? Do we really NEED women that much in here ?

PC (0)

magetoo (875982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806202)

Now I can have a truly PC PC. Finally!

(Sigh..)

This is news? (5, Insightful)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806213)

Women are working on stuff? Holy cow!

Am I the only one sick of this kind of 'news'?
This just in: two more female workers signed up for oil drilling, bringing the total population of female oil drillers to 4, of the total population of 20,000
Why does it matter what sex they are? The reason this is 'news' is because people want to hear stories about how women are being treated equally in the workplace. Women's rights are always easy news. You say, "Women have lagged behind men in [insert job] but are catching up thanks to [insert bullshit here]" and you sell newspapers/ad-space/FreeIPodsAndViagra.

If you single out women for working in a specific job for no reason other than 'they're women' you aren't treating them as equals to men. You're treating them like freaks, like a sideshow.

Re:This is news? (1)

krmt (91422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806311)

What's news about this is that a new organization launched, not that women are working on Fedora.

...and for FOSS women over 50 there is (1)

Psykechan (255694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806219)

For FOSS women over 50, there is always the Red Hat Soceity [redhatsociety.com] . (That's the Cheery Red Tomatoes for you Simpsons fans) Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Seriously though, shouldn't Fedora contact them? At the very least they can cross promote each other.

Interesting... Is this necessary? (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806223)

Why are they actively reaching out to women? They don't actively reach out to men (specifically). If women want to do it, they will come. If they don't, they won't. They are wasting their time, because nobody new will help because of this reaching out campaign. Not being sexist, but most women probably don't think that cutting code is cool, and care too much about society. Us nerds don't care if other people call us recluse, geeks, nerds, whatever. We know we make a difference. I guess women don't feel that way, and need to be acknowledged.

Damn. I just re-read that post and it sounded incredibly rude. Well, I don't mean to be, so sorry if I offend anyone. I can't think of a better way to say it.

Disclaimer: IANAP (psychiatrist)

Re:Interesting... Is this necessary? (2, Insightful)

LadyVirharper (804893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806489)

"Necessary"? Who knows. Good? Yes. I don't think you fellows realize/understand it, but women are indeed pretty social; social programs such as message boards and the like are what got me into IT in the first place, and it's really very irritating to make a post with a nick that's obviously female like mine and get some nitwit going, "Liar! You're not a girl, you're a 40 old man in your parents' basement!" or "Show me your boobies!" or whatever. A group for females provides a place for us to be girly geeks without the BS that's occasionally (sometimes more than occasionally) flung around here.

And that's not to say we can't "take the heat" or whatever, any more then I could say you men ph34r the unicorns, and are wusses because of it ;) , just that it's nice to collaberate with girls occasionally, and I find there are more female geeks in social geekery settings, such as fan sites, message boards, etc. I'm working on website right now with one woman who is in the astronomy field.

I know several other female geeks, too. They're not as rare as you think. We find one another.

Anyway, social geeky things tend to draw more women. Therefore, groups for women developers could very well be a good thing, as it would provide a community, which is alluring. You guys talk about beer and sports and whatever while you work; why can't we crush on fictional book characters, squee when we're happy, and do whatever girlish things we want to do when we work? :p

Of course, I'm only one woman, and all these opinions are my own. I only know my own motivations for working with computers. Any other women out there?

They only made TWO changes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806236)

A pink desktop background and the cigarette lighter has been replaced by a lipstick holder.

Really (2)

Stephen Tennant (936097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806237)

the guys just want a date

stop the hostilities (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806242)

As we can tell by some of the posts there are still plenty of guys who think they can make any type of stupid and hostile remark about women in FOSS and in general. This needs to stop and as a community we need to take responsibility and action to ensure that those guys who make those types of remarks and create a hostile climate get a stern warning and, if necessary, will be excluded so we can have peaceful, welcoming, and productive FOSS communities. I have no concrete ideas how to go about this but feel very strongly about this issue. Any suggestions?

disparity by geography and ethnicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806243)

OK, I'll bring it up again: most people who've been in a technical field for awhile notice that a much greater percentage of women from Asia and Eastern Europe (including Russia) seem to be interested in a career in science and engineering, following a technical track (i.e., not a manager, marketer, or doc writer), compared with American women for example. Why is that? Socialization undoubtedly accounts for some of it, but I'm not sure there's not a genetic basis as well.

People like to do what they're good at relative to their fellow workers.

Is that finally set to change? (0, Troll)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806247)

Yes, I think it would coincide with the year of the Linux desktop

No it won't (0)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806265)

At present, women are believed to make up only about 1.5% of the FOSS community. Is that finally set to change?

As long as you keep creating special "women" foundations, this isn't going to change. Women are people just like us, why can't they be in the current foundations along men treated equally?

You don't see a "Fedora Men" foundation.

This is stupid.

Face it, women are less attracted to IT than men, just like men are less attracted to fashion decoration than women.

Women are more social (3, Interesting)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806271)

celardore is basically right. Women tend toward more social careers. Of course there are exceptions and there are women who choose fields which are more male-oriented by their nature (construction, military service) just as there are men who choose jobs traditionally held by women.

Unlike some other fields, women aren't being kept out of programming through any sort of imposed discrimination. Anyone can learn to program and anyone who writes good code can participate, especially in FOSS. I've known female coders for more than 20 years, from the COBOL whiz when I was a sysop at the Department of $US_DEPT to a few people in my department at $MegaCorp today. Yes, they're a minority, but only out of choice. No one is telling women not to code. Code doesn't have genitalia. As long as it works who gives a rat's ass whether code was written by a man or a woman or even by Hugo the Incredible Coding Marmoset?

FFS... (1)

dud83 (815304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806275)

Only Debian seems to be on the right track here. The pages needs to be excessively pink! However even debian lacks the ponies. And possibly red hearts and roses...
Because we all know that's what attracts women! *_*

Communication patterns (3, Insightful)

coffeechica (948145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806298)

The numbers aren't going to change easily. Not as long as the FOSS world is dominated by men (and yes, this is where the snake bites its own tail).

One example: my university classes used to overlap with those of CIS students a lot, and what I heard from the few female students there was that they found it hard to communicate with the men at times and often didn't really want to. Simply take a look at /. - very male communication patterns, enough to make it tricky at times to know whether to be insulted or not or whether to take something the way it is written or with a grain of salt. Women will often think more and also interpret communications in very different ways at times. So when being into FOSS means 1) getting into a stereotypically male area of interest and b) interacting with almost only men who on occasion seem to speak another language, I have to applaud those 1.5% for sheer guts.

The true incentive for women (0)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806301)

OMG!!!!its ponies!

I once asked.... (4, Funny)

Aeomer (990057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806322)

I asked a work collegue 'why most women don't have hobbies?' She gave an answer I have heard many times - 'Woman don't need hobbies, we can create with our bodies. Men have hobbies to make up for their inability to give birth.' Then I stated 'But then why do any women have hobbies at all?' The answer stunned me 'Because they are barren, old, or gay.' So apparently, Open Source runs on testosterone. Never think women are more enlightened than men - they just disguise their stupidity better. ;-)

Re:I once asked.... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806509)

This makes a lot of sense. Men have an inate drive to be creative because unlike women, they are unable to create life. Even if you look at history, most of the famous writers, artists and musicians were men. I don't think it was all because of oppression. People do what they feel they want to do. I don't think we should try to be pushing people into doing things that they don't want to do. I saw enough unhappy people in university who were only in a certain program because their parents pushed them to do something, wasting not only their time, but lots of money in the process.

Re:I once asked.... (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806514)

Your co-worker ranks on the exact same level as men who seek to 'score' as many times as possible, in that she thinks that a fulfilling life means carrying out her gender's reproductive function. She is also a misandrist, as in the opposite of a misogenist, because she's prejudiced against men, at least according to her own twisted terms: "to make up for their inability..."

Fortunately, her type probably only exists in the same proportions as the equivalent stupid men.

Here we go again... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806330)

Here we go again, for yet another round of "I'm a guy, and I don't understand why this is needed" responses to one of these articles. Yeah, you're all right, the reason there aren't many women programmers is that women don't want to program or aren't suited to it. They also don't want higher education, and they don't want to work outside the home, and they don't want to vote, and they don't want to drive. And yes, they'd all love to post pictures of their boobies for you, if they only knew how to work these funny machines.

"Is that finally set to change?" (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806333)

Is that finally set to change?

Certainly not because Fedora thought it's time they jumped into the line. Generally I guess the number (around 2 percent) is just about right. Although during my university years, that is from ~4 to 9 years back, in IT this number at us was much higher, you can hardly meet women actually working for their living in the field.

While I also - like others above - don't really think such "separation" of women related to linux is generally good, it might help some newbies to get involved by alleviating the fear that there are no other women involved, and that's good. Other than that, I'd guess it's pretty useless. But hopefully a girl will come around and tell us otherwise.

the sims2 (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806343)

I now of one way to get a lot more female linux users... being able to play the Sims2. My gf will switch from xp the same day that happens (without knowing about it for the first few months).

You guys don't get it (5, Insightful)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806384)

I'm looking at the comments so far and they seem to be broken up into two groups:

  • "We need naked pics" jokes (like this [slashdot.org] , this [slashdot.org] , and this); and
  • "Women aren't in tech because they choose not be in tech" as exemplified by this [slashdot.org] .

Hasn't anyone ever thought that these two viewpoints might be related? That maybe the reason more women don't go into tech is cultural - not in the "women are more interested in nail polish than hard drives"-sort of way, but in the sense that they sick and tired of dealing with all the "oohh, titties!" comments that we men think is good natured humor, but gets old with women? Maybe, just maybe, if women (or minorities or the handicapped, etc) can be provided with a supportive environment, we'll find that women are interested in tech. Maybe we'll even find that some women can be really good at it.

Let me put it another way. Everyone once in a while, a sports-related story pops up on Slashdot, and the comments inevitably drift toward stories of posters who have been pushed around by jocks in high school, so they now have a dim view of sports. Like us men making "titties" jokes, jocks would consider their messing with geeks to be good-natured humor. Imagine for a second that your exposure to sports came in a supportive environment (think affirmative action for geeks)- is it possible that this might have resulted in a more positive outlook towards athletics (especially sports like American football and basketball that involves a high degree of strategy as well as athletic talent)?

It's not a matter of discrimination or taking something away from men. It's all about providing a supportive environment so that women can concentrate on the matter at hand, rather than dealing with all the 'good natured' 'non-PC' crap that men throw at them.

Re:You guys don't get it (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806535)

As far as the "This thread is useless without pics." joke, I read that as irony making fun of immature nerds, not anything insulting to women.

That maybe the reason more women don't go into tech is cultural - not in the "women are more interested in nail polish than hard drives"-sort of way, but in the sense that they sick and tired of dealing with all the "oohh, titties!" comments that we men think is good natured humor, but gets old with women?

Yes, I do think that. But it's stupid to let the jokes continue and set aside a special women-only club for them to play on their own. That's incredibly uncaring and condescending. The better approach is to cut out the stupid sexist jokes, flame people for making sexist jokes and ban them from the mailing lists if they continue - like you would with anybody who made racist jokes.

Maybe, just maybe, if women (or minorities or the handicapped, etc) can be provided with a supportive environment, we'll find that women are interested in tech. Maybe we'll even find that some women can be really good at it.

Er, we already know that. There are plenty of good female developers. There are fewer than men in proportion, but there's still plenty of them.

It's all about providing a supportive environment so that women can concentrate on the matter at hand

But it's creating a second-class segregated environment rather than fixing the real environment everybody currently works in. You don't see a problem with that? Maybe we should make them sit at the back of the bus too.

Re:You guys don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806543)

As many jabs there are on ./ about other groups of people, by far the most comments are making fun of themselves. I interpret the "oohh, titties!" comments as making fun of their own immaturity for saying such a thing. Oh coarse someone not familiar with ./ could be understandably insulted, but if they take the time to understand the community, they would know that we're not all sexist bigots.

Re:You guys don't get it (1)

rackrmnn (991896) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806586)

This reply is to the first intelligent comment I've read on this thread. Truly, never before have I been so disgusted with my fellow male computer geeks. Do any of you actually talk to women? In the environment we create it's a wonder there's even 1.5% of females working on FOSS. Of course women choose not to be in tech, but not because they're not good at it. They choose not to be in tech because of the horrendous, entirely male-dominated environment. Programs like these are trying to give women a chance to escape from that environment without have to escape from tech entirely. A lot of people claim that women don't like tech because of biology. The deep flaw in this is the fact that individual characteristics will always triumph over small differences in biology. Remeber that the first programmer, Ada Loveleace, was a woman. Being good at something is not enough to make you do it. There needs to be an enjoyable environment as well. For women in tech, this environment is completely lacking. That is why in my graduating computer science class of 60-some people I can think of only two women. On the other hand, my graduating class in mathematics is about 40% female.

Why women aren't into FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806402)

Because Linux is for FAGS. Gay women are called Dykes. Non-Linux OSS are small so there is a small number of heterosexual women involved in OSS.

Go shove that up your ass, Linus.

Did it go something like this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806415)

FEDORA: Would you like to... I don't know... maybe kinda... do something together sometime?
BABE: Get lost geek.
FEDORA: *retreats to parent's basement to continue work on Laura Croft robot*

Allright, let's look at the percentage of women... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806480)

in programming jobs and then someone please explain why there should be more women than that in FOSS. Politcally correct software, they got to be kidding.

Fedora welcomes Women/Largest Object in Universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15806491)

I noticed the two stories on the page next to each other. Coincidence?

Wow.. no here is a thread I can really sink my... (1)

Halvy (748070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806533)


teeth into!!

Lets see.. maybe they can call it: Ukun..to

nah..

Hey I KNOW!!

How about a distro for..

Non colords!!

I mean, I'm not colored..

I guess I'm 'clear'.. no...

I'm white!! Ooppps!! Sorry, said teh "w" word :(

Yea, a distro JUST for us 'White folk'!!.. that would be nice..

Or maybe if that is a little tooo terroristic for some of you hypocrits.. then how about one for us 'males'?

Ohhh, come one.. you girls are going to have your own!! :(


-- Well there ya go, I just used one of the two posts I am 'alloud' on /. per day, because of my 'Terrible' Karma rating. I guess I'm beginning to understand why management says that we should'nt be concerned with it... I guess, because it doesn't really matter..

what's really needed is DorkElimination (1)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806539)

Which would wipe out half of FOSS in one fell swoop. But the ranks would quickly be re-filled with normal people with actual technical and social skills. What to do with all those leftover dorks? Not to worry, they'll have more time to do what they really want, which is spend more time posting asinine comments on Digg and Slashdot.

Maybe? (1)

treak007 (985345) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806549)

Maybe women stay away from "nerds" on the internet for the fear of being hounded to death by people who have never seen a woman online before.

typical conversation
*Christine has entered the channel
randomperson > OMG!!! R joo @ girl????
randomperson 2 > OMG!!!!111 GIRLS!!!
Christine > ah yeah.
randomperson3 > OMG randomhotmail@hotmail.com send nude pics!!111
randomperson > Y@ s3nd nudie pics plz.
*Christine has left the channel

Impact (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 8 years ago | (#15806581)

The impact of women on FOSS is tangible already. Every 28 days my FC5 installation gets cranky and won't let me log on.... some message appears that says "You don't love me anymore!!!!" and then the screen goes black. On alternate days it let's me logon, but in order to keep it speedy I have to buy it a diamond.
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