On 06/02/13 14:55, Shlomi Fish wrote:
I hope I won't get attacked for it too much (and I am an active contributor to advocacy@perl.org), but I think part of the problem is that Feminists (and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminazi -s - a term which no longer mean the same thing) are *never* happy from whatever behaviour the good-intentioned male hackers exhibit towards female developers who wish to start,

I realise this is derailing the thread further, but I'm going to object to this. Shlomi, there are *many*, *many* men in the Perl community who manage to get along with the women in the Perl community without any gender-related problems at all.

For starters, they don't insist on using "guruess" or "hackeress" after being told that "guru" and "hacker" were not originally gendered and don't need to be so (and I'm delighted to see that you've improved in this area). They're also the ones who wouldn't even bring up the word feminazi if trying to make your point, when it has never meant the same thing and is and always has been a deliberate slur against feminism. They're also the ones who don't jump to point the finger at feminists for what is clearly a society-wide problem.

Feminists (and there are both male and female feminists) are not at fault for pointing out that lots of entrenched behaviour is not okay. It just isn't. Things like using soft porn in slides should be obviously not okay. But things like asking a woman who's turned up to your tech group if she's there because her boyfriend is, or who her boyfriend is, or even if she has a boyfriend, is also not okay. If someone is correcting you on what you view to be relatively mild transgressions perhaps it means that mostly you're doing okay. Or, occasionally, perhaps it means you didn't understand that your transgression isn't that mild.

As a feminist, I can say with pride that (although not perfect) the Perl community at large is my favourite group of tech people to hang out with largely because it's the least sexist. Sure, I got asked what the partners' program was like, less than an hour after my talk at YAPC::EU and sure, I get challenged to prove my Perl credibility by people who don't know who I am at YAPC::NA (a few times) but mostly this is a really good crowd.

So I don't agree at all that "part of the problem is that Feminists ... are *never* happy from whatever behaviour the good-intentioned male hackers exhibit towards female developers who wish to start," The Perl community has many men who behave wonderfully towards women who wish to start in Perl, and I (and I'm sure a lot of feminists) are delighted with that. What do I mean about behaving "wonderfully"? I mean treating them as you should treat any other starting developer: assume competence, determine background, point out appropriate resources and provide help when it is requested, and only that help, versus "here let me finish it for you".

I don't think that Perl's decline in popularity is all that related to why Perl has too few women in its communities. Over time, my training classes have probably averaged 25-30% women (which is on-par with women's representation in IT in business). Skud's survey (years ago) suggested 6% women (which is 3 times higher than women's representation in open source for pleasure, although the survey may have been answered by people who only worked in open source for work). I think Perl has too few women in its communities for almost all the same reasons that too few women are involved in open source for pleasure, and they're well documented elsewhere. That is, this isn't a Perl problem, but a wider problem. All we can do is promote (haha) the strengths of our community and treat our newcomers well.

All the best,


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