digital struggles & gender issues
The project was an EU funded project, specifically researching Gender in FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source Software). 70 page report.
The conclusion of the report . The data was gathered with an online survey of 1000 people working in FLOSS. More then 100 answers of that were by womyn - "this is actually quite good".
one question was: "do you think that women are discriminated against in the free software community?"
the result was disturbing or astounding, 90% of men answered "no" and 90% of women answered "yes" to the question.
- "Women are actively (if unconsciously) excluded rather than passively disinterested. The effect lies within F/LOSS cultural and social arrangements. The exclusion happens among people who often do not mean to appear, and who do not interpret their own actions, as hostile to women. The effect is an outcome of the importance given to the individual as the sole carrier of agency."
How could this discussion be any different from the previous discussions, where the problems remain? So we try to do something a bit different...
In most geek groups there are male only groups that have to acknowledge they are male only groups. Reiewing the last days, for something about ourselves:
- We value a lot more the results than how they were obtained, we can do some harsh and evil things to achieve these results
- Clara has been asking for most of the breaks in the meetings, do we really care about how we feel? We do not think about how each other feel.
- A lot of us feel that yesterdays meeting felt that Florence would be excluded at some point and did nothing
- Being nice is not always being nice, but we should have been discussing more collectively, and should act on things
- We always have to ... to change our behaviour. Suggestion to deal with the translation problem, we could have thought about it ourselves.
- Do we present ourselves as being open for discussions?
- When we use more free form discussions we tend to get more "male" behaviours back again.
- sexual misery in the geek community, it is never discussed
If we really want boum.org in our collective we should think about how we behave. Anarchists think means and goals should not be seperated. There is a project called the systerserver (wom@n server project), never mentioned over these days.
- Q: Is this just because of the gender balance in the collective?
- Q: systerserver is it still going?)
- A: american server project, there is another one in south america
- Q: I'm not happy with many people behind laptops?
A: Collaborative note taking, makes it easier for Florence (& others) who have difficulty hearing & understanding english speaking.
- A: Just some people are taking minutes, otherwise no need too have more laptops.
- A: In the discussion about relation between users/admins, some feel the laptop is a frontier.
Meeting moves physical location...
Discussion: Do we just want people to just have the men having this discussion? There are women in this meeting.
It is interesting to hear the men trying to solve this as one of the women who has been in this meeting so often.
It would be more interesting to know more about this report. At a meeting with a person who wrote this report... missed... She never had problems as when she is a group when she doesn't feel right she just leaves, now thinking about it she has an idea. More about this later.
- Q: If you think you have to leave groups don't you think this is a problem? A: In our city there is two LUGs one is open and the other isn't. She just moved when she met the closed one, they were stupid.
Going back to starting with what we have experienced for the last few days. Noticing that the womyn involved in the meetings over the last few days, not sysadmin as much but feel they have something to add to the discussions. I don't know but, you were involved in making the workshop on the mutual aid. The meeting last night was almost only men, only one woman stayed. It was communications between us, but we didn't get something to communicate with the rest of the world. I found that symptomatic.
I feel like I need to respond to a lot of what is being said. They are not seeing the forest for the trees. Looking at specific things... Patriarchy is a serious problem, gender is one axis of the many levels of access in tech, less than race class and . My collective is 50% women, and I think we have ... For me the meeting last night was something like - issues of education and admin, they are something we have talked about for some time. The meeting last night was about something very specific, it was condensing weeks of work, so at times it was very tense.
I am way more interested in analysing how. The topic wasn't user education, but I am still interested in the how.
- Q: What the hell happened at the meeting A: A summary of the feeling - I hope : Server admins mainly, lots of the time no laptop. Very focused, something special was happening, there was a feeling of the "religous". It was a meaningful moment for some people, even though I hadn't been participating before. I don't have a server so I won't be. My impression was it was just about setting up an e-mail list. But there were a whole other set of levels to it. There usually not proper discussions about this. Here I was in a meeting that had been going on for weeks, everyone was concious this was an important meeting, and talking about the appropriate channel for this.
Why this was so focused was that they were avoiding setting up a mailing list. They knew they were heading toward a mailing list and they were trying to avoid it.
I just want to clarify a tech camp in 2002 I forced this on some unwilling techs. I've done this repeatedly. I want to address this issue again and again. Not that I am any better or our collective doesn't have lots of gender issues. But what happend last night was a closed meeting that other people happened to be in.
I just wanted to comment on the forest and the trees. I think that result of the study concerned free software movements, it doen't necessary encompass our groups. FLOSS isn't necessarily progressive. There is a scam and commercial around it. There is an issue amongst our groups, but for example for our collective we actively do try and involve women. I think we are different, but there is still something to discuss.
I would be interested in which of the collectives have a good proportion of we
I think it is good to have facilitation to avoid gender conflicts, so men have often more tendency to cut peoples conversation, and tend to speak more than others. It is mostly unconcious. Men and women are equally responsible of this happening. So I don't know if you have noticed that womens go round gets skipped, when it is your turn. Maybe for me it is the first time I feel a strong gender problem in the group Usually I leave, but I wanted to stay.
I was enlightening a particular point. People last night were aware in the discussion that there were going to be specific boundaries, but we had not yet defined them. At some point there was going to need to be a defining, exclusive moment, but that we should have been better about being clear about that sooner and more clearly.
Yesterday it was awful for me, there were power relationships, the speaking wasn't easy. Even if it was history, I don't want to be involved with people who don't respect. Yesterday night was really aweful for me.
I would like to point out that me and florence have been talking a lot at least more than others. I would like to not have a situation where women tell men where they are behaving badly, but see where you come to your own conclusions.
I feel uncomfortable with yesterdays discussion, because yes it was an internal discussion, but there were more people at the meeting and there was a power thing going on in the meeting, I know I was taking part in it. At the end of the meeting some people were excluded from the network. It is never any easy thing to do or a pleasent thing to do. Some people asked why there was not laptops. A cynical answer would be: There was a male climate, a tense atmosphere, a contested nature, a challenge and response, so laptops would be a distraction from being in the fight. Not everyone was there last night, there are many other things we could talk about. Even if there were no women there, it does not change the male way that we interacted and some pretty male attitudes.
It's not suprising the way things went, the only thing that bothers me is why wasn't it made clear that this is a closed meeting. The topic of the meeting is to what degree is this a closed meeting.
Thinking about how people treated each other, those are the things that happen in every bit of our organisation,
I didn't paticipate because I knew I wasn't involved. But I feel that everything everything has been done on a self-defined way. I felt that the people involved had been part of this process. It was a kind of conclusion that was excluding some people who had been part of the process. It should have been really specified. Internal seems quite wierd to me.
in our group it was a big discussion if were would have closed meetings. and we decided that closed meetings should be allowed. there was a proposal that we have a closed meeting in secret, hiding. i think this is bad. the solution we arrived at is that we should have the meeting in the normal place, and say if this is an open or closed meeting. politically, i think this is a more correct solution. it was a closed meeting but not declared to be one. i think this was ok. other people seemed to have a better sense of what was going on. there was a clear sense that people didn't know who should be in the closed group. i think this discussion could have happend in the pub in some remote place and this would have been worse.
there were gender problems yesterday, but they were not the main problem, it would have been better to state at the start that the group was to make an affinity group with a closed group of friends among friends. she came to the group to make an open mechanism and isn't interested in making a closed group. things should have been clearer.
my perception of the meeting was that they didn't really know if they wanted a closed or open network. it wasn't clear before and it was clear afterwards. before i thought it was just a meeting, and after i felt like a guest. i was glad that they didn't leave and go to the pub, but had a closed dicussion in public.
I think that group affinity is good, it good to have both (open and closed groups), it just neds be be clear..
apart from the problem of closed relationship, it did feel like being in the pub with a group of men, who were not being politically aware and with power. i had this feeling all week, this was the moment which was the hardest.
change of topic
> after all this discussion about sci-fi for me it is a big issue to talk gender related to technology, we still have the same relation to tech as everyone else, there is no first and later, it is transversal. we have to deal with that i think it is more about how people feel, its not %ages, it's how they feel in and out of the community. around me in my environment most women don't feel comfortable around this community. this is quite objective. the important thing is not to decide if there is or is not descrimitation. it is. it is someting concrete in our communities along with race and class.
> i agree with everything you said and just feel miss understood. i think there are serious gender issues. i politically think a heirachy of oppression is offencive. just highlighting that they are equally problematic. in terms of content there are many areas of male power that reflect gender, and many that are the same for everyone learning tech - poor sharing of knowledge by those who know. there are some issues are very specificily gender. (lost train of though here...)
> practical examples: lack of appeal the very geek scene have for ppl standing outside: you won't feel comfortable if you don't have enough knowldge. rtfm culture - read the fucking manual. it makes geeks feel confortably powerful. a lot of observations about men wiht cars alpp it is a good way of deconstructing the relations that many geeks have we are not bearing the most crude expamles, but sometimes we are so enthusiasit that we take keyboards from people, we are driven by the desire to show the knowledfe someone has rather than helping. another thing would be to question our ability to learn, the skills i have learned are not random, made easier as i am man, it wasn't fashionable, but there were some roll models. culturally this is no the same for women. we are not discuraged. we need empathy with those willing to learn. i get upset with people who don't manage to learn, i should have a motto for myseld to keep aware
> who learned anything new from what was just said? I've had thoughts for years now,
> it seemed clear to me, and important
> just to react, i think the technical groups, women are not easily encouraged to learn technical skills.
> what i had forgetten was... the specific gendered systems for maintaining tech heirachy are it is very useful to have other techs helping you. while it may be true that men learn by going of alone and doing, but for me i learn from other men socially, i was boycotting irc for a while and realised i was missing much. irc is totally male dominated. go to a geek conference, or a list, but they are very male.
> woman's comment: >i wanted to say i liked when we talk wy you said about how we learn was very important... the crossover, where it isn't yis not only self criticism, but we need to speak about strategy and tools.
> there is a ashaahed red ererrspossponsibilsstty, it is not only 'bad' men, women and men have an equal responsibily, there is a little book in fr about power struggles that happen in discussions between women and men, so it is interesting that they timed interventions between men and women, men were speaking more, women and men had the impression women were speaking more. the causes, geeks very into their computers have a communication problem, so it is a problem in communication with women, they are comfortabel speaking to other men/geeks, so maybe the solutino would be to acknowledge that so those who have more ability to cemmunicate do so, it is more accute when men don't know the women, so men should go to women and talk to them
> I don't recognise this, i define my self as a geek, but i have plenty of problem talking to men
> don't mean everyone
> it would be nice to talk abou the experiences of the last few daxys
> i am suprised to hear someone not using irc it is the most social glue, it is mostly social not technical. refering to the way people learn, that doesn't help male only groups, i call for breaks as i have done lots of facilitation training. women joining groups wont help your communication problmes
> i wanted to react earlier regarding what was being set regarding admin/user distintion. i think we should focus here on our experience in the last few days. i am a man, i trouble seeing where the gender issues stand and how my behavior affects it. i do see that i do talk a lot haand have a presence that is probably related to gender. i have trouble seeing how that relates to tech issues. are there specific help in seeing how tech and gender issues relate.
excurs relating to a different event and to the earlier discussion about yeasterdays round
> want to reply what was said earlier we are now in a discussion about domination and men talking about there problems and we are talking about closed groups as it is a problem, you then talking about checking about people, it is patricachy and there closed groups that are a problem, if you exclude me i find this a provocation, and it would make me try and exclude you and stop from taking part, you are the one who spoke and interupted you > with interuption i was wrong sorry. with excluison, it may be an missunderstanding, it is not with stopping wonen explicitly it is to do with excluding explicitly > it could be a social space where you exclude people, you exclude me > you can sleep in our space for a couple of days, then we talk about our reading group, then we ask people not involved to leave the room. if you think this is wrong then we can have a discussion > i don't want to have this discussion
==== end of excurs ===
- DINNER BELL ahhhh
> like me we were going through theoretical discussions it is more important to lay some commov background befor starting. he is sometimes afraid that in male groups it is easier to talk theoretically rather than sharing feelings, he will be into sharing some pracical experience from groups tried to would have space to express feelings fear as in even friends groups they have difficulty doing this. would be interested in hearing from others about this, both involving more women and making them feel more comfortable and among males to share more of our feelings and avoid these competitive behavours
just a retorical remark, it is not about making women comfortable, it is about making the people in the group to feel comfortable, i got the impression that men in the group were not comfortable with the way the group goes, we should address that first
i don't feel i am a woman everyday all the time many times i feel comfortable in male group more than woman, i sometimes don't notice, it is not all the time
discussion to continue in friendly groups over dinner, and then back here at 10.
- without T handsign... just interrupting in a typical male fashion...
[No notes made live on the computer during the return session if someone wants to fill in on what happened]
Vera Ivanovna Zasulich July 27, 1849 (August 8, New Style)-May 8, 1919) was a Russian Marxist writer and revolutionary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zasulich
- head count: 19 men, 5 womyn
- womyn or wom@n are feminist spellings of the word women
leftist techies and patriarchy http://de.indymedia.org/2002/01/13720.shtml