Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

A Point of Clarification

23 June 2005

I received a slightly snarky but well-intentioned email about my last blog entry. To clarify, the vast majority of men in the Linux community are fine. As I’ve pointed out before, men are overwhelmingly the early adopters in technology. Therefore, I don’t find it any great surprise that there’s only 4 female Debian developers out of 1503, especially since being a Debian developer is all about packaging the early adoption of technology for other early adopters.

Most frequently, women feel excluded due to thoughtlessness (such as the example I cited about BayLinuxChix). Much more rarely, it’s deliberate (as in the example of a former boss). Granted, that one incident could easily have been a prank; it was not, however, isolated.

Most of the teams I’ve worked on have been predominantly male. The most so was the 38-person Product Portfolio group at Northern Telecom, where I was the only female software engineer. Nevertheless, there weren’t issues relating to my being female — at least none that I ever knew about.

My reduced participation in the Linux community stems from a change of focus in my own life; it’s certainly not related to anyone’s behavior.

The catch is: a lot of people dismissed the dude posting to the Debian list as a troll. Regardless of the poster’s intent, that sort of behavior does make (some) women feel unwelcome — even when they’re not.

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