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Open Source Programming Software

Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source 545

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-making-them-uninterested dept.
New submitter Jason Baker writes "It seems like a perennial question: 'How do we get more women involved in tech?' The open source community, like any other part of the technology industry, is grappling with finding solutions that are more than just talking the talk of diversity, but actually make some demonstrable difference in the numbers. While there have been numerous success stories, the gender gap is still rampant. The answer, at least to one freelance entrepreneur, is providing strong role models of women using open source to have fun and make money. But is that enough to make a difference?"
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

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  • Re:I'm male but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by duckintheface (710137) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @07:08PM (#46156387)
    The OP talked about women. The title moves that to "young" women. So as you seek to remove gender bias you add age bias? How about getting everyone interested in open source. And if there are obstacles that apply only to young women, then you can focus just on them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @07:12PM (#46156439)

    As an actual woman programmer, I gotta tell you, most of the guys I encounter react really weird to me at first. There's the assumption that I must be an idiot (I'm not) or I can't POSSIBLY know how do this (I do) and of course all the off-color jokes (which I happen to find funny). Basically the environment isn't always friendly to young women. I've worked plenty of places as the only woman. One of my first jobs, the sales guy came up behind me, stared, and said it was "SO COOL to see a chic crank out code!" Um, creepy.

    I do it because I like it, and I have learned to just laugh off most of this stuff as harmless cluelessness. But it does create this barrier to entry.

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @07:47PM (#46156801) Journal

    So she's not very qualified relative to the other applicants. She's no worse off than a man with the same qualifications. When the labor supply is so much larger than demand, employers just keep raising the bar. If we were struggling to find programmers, things would be different. This push to make more and more people into programmers is only going to worsen the situation for people seeking their first job, and will depress wages for the people who do get hired. ...it's almost like that's the point.

  • Gender Balance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by inhuman_4 (1294516) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @07:48PM (#46156819)

    According to the BLS 95% [bls.gov] of workplace deaths are men, even though men make up only slightly more than half of the workforce. So how come there is no push to get women in high risk jobs, like oil wells, private security companies, mining, etc?

    It's got nothing to do with gender balance. It's about feminists finding things to rail against.

  • Re:The Life We live (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scamper_22 (1073470) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @07:51PM (#46156855)

    I think preference is a big part of it.

    However, this does not mean systemic issues cannot be a factor. There are a lot of things about STEM that are not inherent to STEM or anyone being interested in STEM.

    1. Be willing to be on call 24/7... why should this be the case? Maybe this should change.
    2. Spend free time researching and learning? Really... I need this for my job? No I don't and companies can train people.
    3. Forgoing human contact? There is no reason for this again. Many tech jobs heavily involve communication be it for product planning, support, design meetings... ...

    I would dare say these are issues for many men as well.
    Many more woman have become doctors as well for example. It has been documented they don't work as hard or as crazy as their male counterparts.
    http://www.schoolofpublicpolic... [schoolofpu...licy.sk.ca]

    But is that a problem? Sure, they can and probably are paid less. Yet, they still serve patients very well.
    I'm sure there are many young men as well who would want to be a less overworked doctor as well.

    There is nothing intrinsic about being a doctor that involves working crazy hours or 24 hour shifts in the ER.

    The same is true for software/engineering.

    We can and we should be legislating and addressing these lifestyle issues in regards to careers. If after that is all done people still choose gender like jobs... well that is all fine and dandy.

  • Re:I'm male but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Velex (120469) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @08:04PM (#46156983) Homepage Journal

    Replying instead of modding.

    Try working in a nearly all female working environment. You will receive sexual harassment and be held accountable for the actions of others because you were assigned the same gender some other person was at birth. You'll hear all the same old jokes that "all men" are the butt of on a near daily basis, and you'll get as tired of them as feminists are of jokes about women drivers.

    It took me a long time to learn to not act on the feeling of disgust that overcomes me when a woman is flirting with me and to also communicate to my co-workers that it was not acceptable to expect me to return the flirting.

    Sexism and acting as a chauvenist pig are not things that are unique to any particular gender and are not things that being assigned the female gender at birth prevents one from engaging in.

  • Re:I'm male but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Oligonicella (659917) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @08:24PM (#46157159)

    The sexism and harassment that is so common in tech is what turns women off to working in this field.

    If you actually believe that, you do not understand people, much less women.

  • Re:I'm male but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:04PM (#46157523)

    I've actually worked in nursing and child care, as a man. I got out because they put up with things that, as a man, I had no interest in putting up with.

    It works both ways.

  • Re:Brain Change (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sphealey (2855) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:56PM (#46157945)

    Actually the environments where computer programming was developed had plenty of men - they just considered the activity too mundane and low-level for their capabilities and put "the girls" (many of whom had MAs in math) on that task.

    sPh

  • Re:I'm male but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by boristdog (133725) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:46PM (#46158707)

    Back in my youth I was the young, single, male computer support guy in a large gov't office that was about 80% females. About 50% of those were single divorcees. I was harassed...well, hit on constantly, a lot, and I began to see why females don't like working in a place with a similar reversed gender ratio.

    Though I did go on a lot of dates.

    And ended up married...To a young temp who is now a divorcee working in a different state office. Wow, I just realized that.

  • by Nixie Pixel (3526853) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:35PM (#46165025)

    It's Nixie Pixel: http://www.nixiepixel.com/ [nixiepixel.com]

    She's very articulate, and the technical depth is there, if you can keep yourself from getting distracted.

    I really don't know if there's protocol on responding to a post when you became the topic, but we'll see.

    Just wanted to say that I had been struggling with creating content lately. Over the last 4 years you'd be surprised how hard it is to come up with new, even semi-intelligent topics! Having taught myself Linux in the early 2000s, it's been a learning experience all around... I like to think I'm doing my best. In the end, I'm a one-woman-show, and I know I can be a tough act to follow.

    I've received thousands of negative comments like the ones seen below. Even though I know better (don't feed the trolls, right?), sometimes they discourage me. Then I read ones like the one you posted here and I have to say, it makes it all worth it.

    Thank you. ^.^

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