Tech Post #7: Women and Open Source (again!)

Number of knitting blogs: 470,561
Number of blogs about Ajax: 365,793
Number of blogs writing fiction: 222,544

Joyce Park wrote a two-article “A Modest Proposal” (no reference to Swift*) on women in programming and the industry, why there aren’t more, and what to do about it. A lot of guys wrote back, and some very supportive women. I wasn’t surprised to hear that guys didn’t like the idea. This is my feedback to the feedback. That sounds kind of recursive, huh.

One of the remarks was that you have to have a good dad that asks you science questions on the way to school. I actually think that making your child feel confident in whatever course the pursue is the special ingredient. Site: Ophelia Complex.

One remark was that women don’t take risks. There was something about “time to grow up” put in there. My response to that is, has he ever headed into 9 months of waiting for a sometimes 2-day intensive painful experience of having a child, oh, that is potentially fatal as well? Wow, that sounds risky to me! This guy equates adventure sports with “growing up”- I can’t think of something more childish, actually. Fun, sure, but not necessarily mature.

Another person writes in complaining that he’s in an all-male company. Well, there’s no reason to work in one, fella, especially if you have any say in it. Women2.0, SF WoW, WITI – there are lots of networks with women that will point you to some promising women engineers, problem is he’ll have to recruit them away from their jobs! Show me an unemployed female engineer…

70cents, baby.
But along with this article was a big elephant in the room nobody was talking about. Women don’t earn as much as men. That is one reason why they may not go to conferences, take extra classes, etc. to learn the new and upcoming technology. Because it doesn’t pay RIGHT NOW, and if you’ve been earning less, you are struggling with expenses. Oh, and besides getting paid less, women are on the whole responsible for childcare, so you have dependents, and you earn less. So you don’t have time to tap around on a keyboard in a cafe learning Ajax, because you have to pick up Junior from soccer practice. I know it’s a boring argument. I know the men in the silicon valley- raised by one and sister of another- and despite being liberal, they just don’t want to admit that once in a while they say things like… what my mother was told, when she asked to get paid equal pay for equal work: “You earn less because you’re not supporting a household, like Mike. Your husband works, his wife doesn’t.”

* I’m sure Joyce is being literal, versus satirical, when she refers to it as a “Modest Proposal”– no Irish babies dying here.

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