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Fedora Welcomes Women to FOSS 339

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the ladies-first dept.
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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Fedora Welcomes Women to FOSS

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  • by dch24 (904899) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:41PM (#15806258) Journal
    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
  • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:43PM (#15806271) Homepage
    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?

  • Here we go again... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:57PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:59PM (#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:Artificial (Score:2, Interesting)

    by linvir (970218) * on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:22PM (#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 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dasunt (249686) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:37PM (#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 (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:38PM (#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.
  • by giorgiofr (887762) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:07PM (#15806920)
    WTF! You and I must be living in different worlds.

    they think guy geeks are jerks. And i don't blame them... sit through 4 years of people who make you uncomfortable on a daily basis

    Where the heck did you see that happening? My experience is that most geeks are shy guys who would do almost anything to get the attention of a normal girl. My geek friends and I always behave nicely to girls and when we are in a relationship we sometimes tend to smother them, even. I have NEVER seen a nerd behave rudely to a girl. Unless you consider being too anxious to be sociable a rude thing (certainyl it's not pleasant but it's not done out of rudeness). Even nerds who are not geeks, say, LotR nerds, follow this pattern. WRT to the years in college... Girls who study stuff like engineering here are *swamped* with men and they get to pick which ones they want.
    I think you're vastly exaggerating in your analysis. What you say might apply to girls who enter the military, or something, but definitely not IT.
  • by djfiander (86021) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:26PM (#15807001)
    Man, this crap is old. One can hardly wonder why there are so few women around. Try reading [bofh.org.uk] what some [ibiblio.org] women [mills.edu] have to say about their experiences in computing. But don't expect too many to out themselves here. And don't point out that Spertus's paper is old and things have changed. This thread just demonstrated that it hasn't.
  • by snowgirl (978879) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:23PM (#15807218) Journal
    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.

    This is the premise that your entire argument rests upon, that women have the ability to choose what they want to do. When in fact, culture and society restricts us immensely in what we are expected to choose to do. Today, one would look at the high ratio of females to males in teaching, and indicate that as a natural division, since women are more likely to be caring for youth than men. But this flies in the face of evidence from the past, where women were expected NOT to be in a teaching role. During the past, a female teacher was almost unheard of, and faced serious disapproval for her choice! What has changed since? Societies attitudes about a woman being allowed to work in that position. Now, instead of being shunned for working as a teacher, it is expected, and often compelled, as it falls in line with our culture's expectations of gender roles.

    During a female's upbringing in our culture, she is discouraged from aggressive behavior, and directed towards a more indirect, submissive position. During a male's upbringing in our culture, he is expected to be aggressive, and take a dominant and controlling position. Even when their desired behavior is in direct conflict with these expectations. Almost without fail, men will poorly comply with a female's requests if they are made in a dominate manner, the female must literally coax action from her subordinates rather than having any ability to directly assert what needs to be done.

    This is most directly apparent by the difference in how females and males ask for things to be done. A female would ask, "I would like to have two lights placed over in that corner?" while a male would be able to assert, "Hey, put two lights in that corner."

    Your assertion that females are free to choose their best-suited field is simply wrong. We are not free to choose such things, and those girls who do choose to go into computer science are either mocked and thought less of, or if they are even remotely attractive, they are idealized and turned into objects of--most times unwanted--affection. You are clearly viewing the world from a very idealized point of view in your position as a man, yet you neglect the reality that is there.

    So long as our culture expects women to be submissive, we will never be able to assert our true desires.
  • Re:Artificial (Score:3, Interesting)

    by senatorpjt (709879) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:53PM (#15807341)
    Interesting that the programming field was originally almost exclusively comprised of women.

    Nothing can be done about the current situation, though. The community now is comprised of men who have for a large part had very little exposure to women, and don't know how to not offend them.

    And, maybe it's just another sexist thing to say, but women get offended way too easily. Most guys at work regularly insult each other far worse than I've ever heard a guy insult a woman. It's just joking around. Women don't seem to appreciate the cleverness of a good insult, though.

    Unfortunately, I have a lot of women where I work, and it's not as great as it sounds. You're always having to look over your shoulders before you say anything.

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