[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Youth [Was: Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)]

From: Alexandre François Garreau
Subject: Youth [Was: Re: Women and GNU and RMS (was Re: something else)]
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2019 19:44:02 +0100

Le vendredi 1 novembre 2019, 17:27:53 CET Sandra Loosemore a écrit :
> On 11/1/19 3:32 AM, Andreas Enge wrote:
> > 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
> > welcome?
> I've thought about this and discussed it with other CodeSourcery people
> from time to time in the past, but we've pretty much come up blank.  It
> might help if I personally pursued a more visible role in the community
> so I could act as more of a role model for other women,

Might it be that it’d be mostly related with the bad gender ratio in CS in 

And, imho, maybe even more specifically in some *very specific* technical areas 
which are actually of greater importance within GNU (eg. lisp, compilers, 
languages, libraries… and not, eg. video games, internet protocols, etc.)? I’m 
quite unaware of differences of (anyway all pretty bad) ratios in differents 
areas of computing.

> Maybe people who work for other organizations who contribute regularly
> to the GNU project could look at their hiring practices and try to
> recruit and retain more female hackers?

That seems an extremely good idea.

> but all of us women who've worked specifically on the GNU
> toolchain have been older (me, Catherine Moore who is now in a
> management role, Janis Johnston who has retired, and Rhonda Wittels who
> has left the company), and we don't have any more junior female
> developers in the pipeline at present.  :-(

Bringing age parameter seems to be an extremely interesting idea here. Because 
indeed GNU, more than other projects, is a pretty legacy and old project, 
founded in the roots of software computing itself and the yet-to-be internet, 
with a big ratio of quite low-low-low-level software, more of interest at the 
time, much less hacked on (and getting popular interest) nowadays (I’m pretty 
sure there are more women working for firefox, ubuntu, etc. than even *knowing* 
that Debian, gnutls, binutils exists, their names, and what they are).

Maybe the highest level things that are rooted in GNU’s culture of lisp/
compilers/languages are actually software package managers, as GNU has knew 
quite a dozen.  And I’m pretty sure the median age in Guix project is pretty 
*much* lower than anywhere else.

And gender ratio was likely *way more bad* (yet still bad) at the time 
(because of policy and social cultures that *are* to reject, but maybe now 
partly gone) , and that might explain why it might be more bad in GNU than 
elsewhere.  Without even being related to, even unconscious, behavior of its 

So my solution, and it is quite kind, welcoming, pacific, and inclusive: offer 
formation about what’s of great interest within GNU, to younger hackers, maybe 
not even yet hackers (so to overcome the still-existing bad gender ratio of 
universities, because of still bad social culture) and, instead of “diversity 
programs” that’d consist in aggressively and negatively policy our already-
there community (and risking to cristalize disagreements), we might go out and 
teach people lisp, C, compilation, interpretation, languages and such!

I’m sure “attract, or even make, younger hackers” may be a more attractive and 
unifying perspective to *all* of us.

I’m already pretty young (according the current discussions, half a dozen of 
years ago I may even have been a “child” (too bad I really didn’t become a 
fully-achieved hacker at 14 (so even more “as a child”) like Aaron Swartz), 
and I already see that, for GNU hackers, “young” is something around 40yo.  
It’s not their fault.  They all seem pretty nice.  It’s likely not because of 
their behavior, but the *reasons* why they’re here, while others not.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]