Hi Dorothy,

Thank you for your thoughtful and honest email. You raise very important
matters that the group should begin discussing openly. I have had similar
experiences with Wikimedia NYC and other tech/activist groups, and
sometimes felt a little discouraged or shy about speaking up, and a lot of
times, I rationalize and brush off what I experience as something I would
always experience in groups that are predominantly male.

I'm happy to coordinate our efforts on conference planning to begin a
conversation about this. If you need any assistance in organizing a
diversity training for our group or would like to set aside time to have a
Wikimedia NYC Board meeting for this, please let me know. I will do
anything and everything to help start this conversation.

Thanks again,

Jennifer Baek

On Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM, Dorothy Howard <dhow...@metro.org> wrote:

> Dear All,
> As one of the few female members of Wikimedia NYC I want to express to you
> all my thoughts on the gender dynamics of the group to put things in
> perspective. I hope that this email can continue into a wider discussion
> about the gender politics of Wikipedia and how to address potential issues
> of sexism in our community.
> First off, I have been incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work
> with all of you and have learned a lot from my participation in this group
> and the gracious help of many of you.
> That said, I have felt that the attitudes of some community members has
> been quite antagonistic towards myself and that this had made me feel
> unwelcome. Part of my criticism is that I have felt judged at different
> points for not having the same technical strengths and/or community
> connections in the group. I think it is important for older members of
> Wikimedia NYC to remind themselves that not everyone has the same set of
> skills/references to draw from and in order to create a friendly and open
> environment for new members we have to be patient teachers to newcomers,
> not judgmental exclusivists or lecturers. I also bring this up because I
> have had several other women that have been in some way involved or have
> worked with Wikimedia NYC members at events express discomfort at the
> masculine and/or sexist undertones of some of the training styles of
> members of Wikimedia NYC this was even true at the ArtAndFeminism event-
> which I found very concerning. This greatly concerns me as the group
> already is mostly male members, and the perception of this kind of negative
> attitude could only prevent the diversification of our group and its
> addressal of the concerns with the gender gap more widely in the Wikipedia
> community.
> I think one of the problems is that attendees of events don't want to be
> told how things are and lectured to as much as they want to be given enough
> encouragement to go out and learn the policies/editing on their own. The
> difference might seem subtle but I think it is noticeable. I ask each
> member of this group to please consider if perhaps you may be implicated in
> my concerns here, because this email is not coming out of nowhere but out
> of the discomfort and conversation among other members of the group to
> which I will leave unnamed.
> I also want to stress that Wikimedia NYC should not be a place for
> unwanted, unprofessional romantic attention. This kind of attention makes
> it hard to feel like a real person when one's intellectual interests are
> being interrupted by an objectifying gaze. I ask that the group treat our
> events and meetings like a workplace in the sense that harassment of a
> sexual or romantic nature should not be tolerated.
> Thanks for listening. I hope this conversation evolves perhaps into a
> training on how to faster a friendly space environment in groups and/or a
> larger discussion of the potential gender gaps within the group. I really
> think it should be a conversation- I just felt I needed to express these
> frustrations upfront instead of continuing to leave them unaddressed.
> Thanks for reading,
> Dorothy
> --
> Dorothy Howard, Open Data Fellow
> Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO)
> 212.228.2320 x127
>  <http://metro.org/>
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