More reax on Ruby & Rails & women

Martin Fowler weighs in:

My observation is that most men in the software business think that there isn’t much sexism left in the profession – that this curse is a memory from a previous generation. Yet when I talk to women, I hear a different story. Nearly every one can tell me recent stories where they were clearly expected to feel degraded and belittled because of their gender. So some sexually suggestive pictures aren’t a joke to them, they are a pointed reminder of disturbing behavior, and a reminder that such events can happen again at any time. One of the great difficulties for white guys like me is that we haven’t been in that position; where prejudice can appear out of any corner, reinforced by the fact that every other face looks different.

As does Tim Bray:

I’m a technology generalist who attends every flavor of gathering. It’s impossible to avoid noticing that, even by the lopsided standard of high-tech culture, the Ruby and Rails communities are dramatically, painfully short of female members.

Josh Susser apologizes, though I’m not sure if he has anything to apologize for:

First off, I want to apologize. The technical program at GoGaRuCo was my responsibility. I could have done a better job and prevented this from happening. Everyone had the best of intentions and there are good reasons why things happened the way they did, but that doesn’t excuse the lapse. As a first-time conference organizer there was a lot that I had to learn as I went, and this is definitely an important lesson. I haven’t yet figured out the best way to prevent this from happening again, but I’m determined to find a way to do better next time.

And Sarah Allen proposes some plans.

I think that if we had monthly events, specifically targeted at women, and were able to effectively spread the word, then we could make it so the SF Ruby events has a more balanced audience and that at next year’s Golden Gate Ruby Conference, half the audience and speakers could be women. I’m not saying every person who attended a workshop or meetup would fall in love with Ruby, but some of them would. It would bring in all sorts of new energy to the community drawing from all different areas of tech.

Fifty percent female attendees in one year sounds, well, impossible, but what do I know?

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Tagged: ruby, gender

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