I just watched fionas Camp’15 talk, and had a few thoughts coming to my mind, which I’d like to elaborate on here:
About creating women’s workshops:
I’m not sure this is a good idea:
As I understand, her point is that workshops explicitly aimed at women, and exclusively for them, would attract more women, respectively lower boundaries and make women feel invited.
Whilst I’m totally in favor of later, I do think that creating ‘women-only’, and maybe even just ‘women’ workshops may be rather contra-productive. More women would attend those workshops, but maybe at the price of being more alienated, and less a part of the community. – If a women attends a ‘regular’ workshop she becomes a part of the of our diverse and colorful community – if she attends a women’s workshop I fear that she’ll merely become a ‘attendee of a women’s workshop’ or a part of a community of women, which again is separate from the main community.
That’s surely better than leaving anyone out, but it’s not what I would describe as a ‘best-case’ goal.
Another thought that occurred to me was that as long women are treated as a special entity, they will be aliens, even in a community of aliens: If I pass by a woman or girl – say at an event or in general – I want to see her as a person, notice individual features, and not as ‘one of those few women in tech’..
Note: I wrote this shortly after returning from Camp 2015. Reading trough this some 6 months later I notice that I was still in a ‘camp-mindset’ – If I wrote this text again today it’d be structured differently and more realistic. But be it – Camp was great:)
I have never heard of any ‘guys only’ workshops or ‘spaces for men’.
I have, however, also never heard of men who where unsure whether they’d be welcomed in a group they’d definitely fit in to.
(In talks, essays or similar I mean. Of course that’s just as a thing – one example is writhing this text.)
Which brings me to the question: Why the serious, fucking, hell are we having these problems in the first place?
One thing that comes to my mind is that we – as a central European society – are teaching girls and boys that they are (resp. should be) different and separate, by the latest from when they enter primary school. Be it by grouping, expecting certain behavior or separate toilets and PE classes. Not to mention stereotypical clothing, hair, hobbies, preferences and so on we (or at least many to most others) are expecting from kids.
Every other reason coming to my mind is in some way based on this. (And I’m sure I’m not the first one coming up with this.)
So I’m wondering how this could be solved.
Technically, if we where able to completely and instantly desegregate schools, the problem of women in tech (along with women in society and minorities in society) could be solved within one generation..
But how do you change the mindset of a entire society?
And how do you teach a society to be excellent to itself?
I do think, that we are tending towards a ‘good’ (as far as gender equality and acceptance is concerned, anyway) society, and might reach a acceptable state some when… But I’d like to see this within less than a lifetime, if possible..
Setting up a ‘Hacker Village’ and living there until the outside world changes might just be the most feasible way of solving the problem for us.
But unless the plan is to extend that village to spread over the whole continent, this is an fairly egoistic and probably not changing society too much. Also, bundling all activists in a perfect world probably leads to a lack of activism everywhere else.