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Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)

From: Andreas Enge
Subject: Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2019 10:32:28 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.12.1 (2019-06-15)

Hello Sandra,

thanks a lot for your personal account and well-argumented description
of how you see the situation.

On Wed, Oct 30, 2019 at 05:22:03PM -0600, Sandra Loosemore wrote:
> The absolute worst thing the public-facing representative
> of *any* organization can do is bring negative publicity to the organization
> about things that are irrelevant or contrary to the organization's mission.
> As a result of RMS's comments, all of a sudden the public conversation about
> the GNU project was not about how good our software is and how free software
> is taking over the world and beneficial to everybody, it was about how we're
> an organization with an ingrained culture of harassing and demeaning women,
> (...)
> It's been a public relations disaster for the GNU project.  :-(
> IMO, to regain control of our public image, I think we have to take some
> explicit and public steps to disassociate the GNU project from RMS's
> comments.

This was indeed my main motivation to sign the open letter at
so if people ask me about it I will direct them to your message :-)

> It has bothered me for a long time that there are so few women participating
> in the GNU community.   I think I might be the only female maintainer on
> either GCC/Binutils right now (I haven't gone through the lists, but the
> others I used to know about have stepped down).  The photos of the attendees
> at recent Cauldrons show a group that is roughly 99% male.  The steering
> committee is 100% male.  There is something wrong with our community that we
> cannot attract more women, and we need to fix it, because a developer
> community that consists almost exclusively of old white men is not
> sustainable.

Do you have ideas on how to change that, maybe on a per-package basis?
For instance, did you experience things in GCC/Binutils or in other
environments that you think might help to attract more women, or more
generally to make diverse groups of potential contributors feel more


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