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GNOME Reaches Out to Women 672

Posted by CowboyNeal
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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GNOME Reaches Out to Women

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  • The Edge Debate (Score:3, Informative)

    by Quirk (36086) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:41PM (#15545989) Homepage Journal
    THE SCIENCE OF GENDER AND SCIENCE [edge.org]

    PINKER VS. SPELKE

    A DEBATE

    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 [wikipedia.org]. 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

  • by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot.uberm00@net> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:27PM (#15546221) Homepage Journal
    You would get some mod points if I had them, alas, they expired yesterday. Very insightful post.
  • Re:Is it sexist? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent.jan.gohNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:31PM (#15546234) Homepage
    The first programmer ever was a woman. How far we've come.

    Computing Science wasn't very popular back in the day; it wasn't a 'serious' subject. That meant it was okay for women to participate. As soon as it started to get more prestigious, fewer women were involved. Hmm. Fortunately, I think that particular reason has worn off over the years; popularity isn't the barrier that it used to be.

    I examined the dearth of female CS students at my University and talked to one of my professors. She had been keeping track of the numbers for years, and it turned out that while ALL sciences had seen increased enrolment -- including pure mathematics -- CS enrolment for women was down every year. It's not too hard or too technical or too 'science-y', so what's doing it? (I still don't know, incidentally -- I think it has something to do with the image of all CS majors as sweaty nerds with no lives and bad hygiene.)

    Lastly, it's worth noting that even in Nursing, things tend to favour the men. Based on Canada's census info (so this isn't a random sample, this is literally reporting for every working adult in Canada), men in nursing tend to make more money, even though it's a female dominated field. A good friend of mine is finishing off her Nursing degree, and she says that it's common to push men through into management positions as quickly as possible because, in part, patients are less comfortable around male nurses. Interesting that even when men are discriminated against, they come out on top. :P

    In the end, this isn't a competition. I concern myself with this stuff because I have a mother, a sister and a wife, and my best friend is a woman; I'd like to see them get ahead in the world. I hope to have daughters one day; it's my job to make sure that they get a fair shake when they go out into the world. The minor amounts of bias that we're seeing being built into the system (trying to get 3 women into an internship, or trying to guarantee that at least 10% of enrolled students are female) rarely actually impact any men in any significant way. We need to start somewhere. If you have a good idea or think you can do better, I honestly urge you to please try. Women have come a long way, but I'd really love to never have to read any more stories like this. 180 entries and no women? How sad is that?
  • Women (Score:3, Informative)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:52PM (#15546331)
    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.


    There's nothing like an outdated stereotype... (from U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, via here)

    Women earning bachelor's degrees by field:

    Women received the majority of the degrees in 1996 in the following fields:

    .
    .
    .
    Biological sciences/life sciences 52.7 percent
    .
    .
    .
    Health sciences, 81.6 percent
    .
    .
    .

    The largest percent increases seen in the bachelor's degrees women earned between 1971 to 1996 were in the following fields:

    Agriculture and natural resources, 4.2 percent to 36.8 percent
    .
    .
    .
    Biological sciences/life sciences, 29.1 percent to 52.7 percent
    .
    .
    .
    Computer and information sciences, 13.6 percent to 27.5 percent
    Engineering, .8 percent to 16.1 percent
    .
    .
    .
    Physical sciences, 13.8 percent to 36 percent
    Psychology, 44.4 percent to 73 percent


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


    I would say the former. When you get a women far less interested than their representation in the field, its an indication that its quite likely that your existing visibility is skewed, and that you are missing exposure to a substantial portion of the talent pool.
  • Women into Linux (Score:2, Informative)

    by jiawen (693693) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:04PM (#15546374) Homepage
    I'm a woman, and the so's the person who got me into Linux in the first place. In fact, she manages a set of packages for Debian and is a sysadmin in a major educational institution. If you believe women aren't into Linux, you should take off your blinders.
  • by xenn (148389) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:58PM (#15546602)
    wrong:

    Withstand definition

    1. To oppose with force or resolution.
    2. To be successful in resisting.

    To resist or endure successfully

  • by ikomikara (656489) on Friday June 16, 2006 @12:34AM (#15546708)
    Four days ago, after a problem in windows, A virus all over the partitions, I persuade my sister to replace her system with a GNU/Linux distro, Kubuntu. She told me, if I want to do this she wants her windows too because she don't want to ask me every time she want to to something and she knows windows well. I told her that the gnu systems are changing so fast and her new experience wont be like the previous ones and for bonus I will teach her 1 hour of how to operate her regular tasks in this system. I knew she didn't like the terminal experiences from the past

    I have and idea this time. I strongly resist to open a terminal while she was watching, and never ever let her see what i am doing there and did all my favorite terminal based task for her system remotely from my own system. And with an hour of teaching she started to play with the system and found many interesting features herself and is really impressed with it. This time with no fear from that black page, maybe she like it and will stay with it!.

    It seems she liked it when there is no terminal around any more. :).
  • by servognome (738846) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:17AM (#15546808)
    I don't like these gender balances because they tend to have tunnel vision. We are greatly rewarding mediocre women in engineering fields due to their low numbers, but we aren't doing the same for men in other fields.

    The tunnel vision is the ignorance of social stigma and associated fear. Typically such programs don't reward mediocre candidates, they identify talented candidates and try to recruit them. For example a colleague of mine was originally working to become a veterinarian (a job more socially accomodating to women), but was recruited into ChemE (and had a 4.0 GPA). She was not a mediocre candidate, what she was looking for was an environment with social support, and encouragement.

    How many men get special seats in programs for nursing, education, etc., where the field is dominated by women? In fact, of the people who get college degrees, only 43% are men. Why doesn't this get the same attention that the lack of women in science and engineering gets?

    As others have pointed out there are similar programs for the recruitment of men into traditional female occupations such as nursing.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:26AM (#15546833)
    "How many men get special seats in programs for nursing, education, etc., where the field is dominated by women? In fact, of the people who get college degrees, only 43% are men. Why doesn't this get the same attention that the lack of women in science and engineering gets?"

    The University of Washington was considering incentives to draw more men into teaching recently - last year or the year before that - but withdrew the plan when certain groups protested the idea.

    It is left as an exercise for the reader to figure out which groups those were (hint: the obvious ones).

  • by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav@nospam.gmail.com> on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:30AM (#15546842) Journal
    In Australia last year a proposal was put forward by a privately funded trust to offer six scholarships to men who would be willing to become primary school teachers in an effort to address the well known and widely acknowledged gender imbalance in schools.

    Predictably, the feminazis kicked up a storm declaring it to be all manner of evil and sexist until a compromise was reached. The organisation was forced to offer half the scholarships to women.

    Yes that is right, a program that was intended to increase the numbers of men in primary schools was virtually forced to subsidise the entry of more women into the field.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:34AM (#15546853)
    As a developer on a gnome project, I can tell you bluntly that additional women would help.

    RMS comes to the rescue [lwn.net]. Call it "free software" and women will rush giving a hand.

  • by Dobeln (853794) on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:34AM (#15547806)
    ...and your reference is?

    There is such research, of course, and it mostly falls into a few broad categories:

    - Gender "science". Gender science presupposes biological factors are irrelevant as a matter of doctrine.

    - Sociology of various stripes. Rarely uses biological controls of any kind. No standardized or generally accepted methodology exists.

    In short, the research you are referring to is pretty close to worthless. It is also often obviously driven by a certain (egalitarian)utopian ideological mindset, that is aggressively intolerant of any dissent from the party line whatsoever.

    Unfortunately for these "sciences", real science in the biological fields is constantly pushing back the veil of ignorance that psuedoscience has been hiding behind. There is a plentora of articles discussing the phonomena - here is one:

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00018E9 D-879D-1D06-8E49809EC588EEDF [sciam.com]
  • by pixellette (954077) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:09AM (#15548431)
    It is because of idiots like yourself (no offence) that this world sucks so much. I am a woman, studying and doing research in astronomy and therefore work with Linux very closely at work/school, and I am perfectly fine with it because I actually started using it as my desktop quite a while ago, before even going to university. And I LOVE shell. Yes, it is one of the greatest things about Linux, I just love how it is possible to issue one or two commands to do something that would otherwise require minutes of clicking.

    What I hate most about some people, is when they talk about women as if they all had IQ of a stereotypical "dumb blond", and that is just plane sexist, and racist, too. Cause it seems to exclude all black women. And guess what, I see even less of those here working and studying science and engineering then blonds. And I doubt it's because they are less smart, it's because nobody EXPECTS them to do anything like this when they are kids, and that affects a person's abilities and desires to perform so much! So instead of arguing that "Linux is too hard" you should open your eyes to the reality: this superiority complex that some individuals have, it has spread to the entire society, which believes that every person has intellect predetermined by their sex/race/fatness/etc.

    Just stop this BS.
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:2, Informative)

    by gavriel407 (897344) on Friday June 16, 2006 @10:42AM (#15549168)
    Orderlies, not nurses, are the ones who move the (increasingly heavier) patients. You'll find that the gender of the people working in this position are mostly male.

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