You are racist. You are sexist. You are homophobic.
Now stop. Analyze your response to my words. Is your heart racing? Do you feel tense, ready to fight? Are you already in my comment section, blasting off a response about how you have plenty of black/gay/disabled/women friends and of course you don’t stereotype? Are you ready to find holes in my argument and punch right through them?
If you want to be a true ally, you need to realize that this type of response is happening. When someone questions you, or calls you biased, you immediately have physical and mental urges to defend yourself, to fight and stick up for yourself. This immediate defensive response is not conducive to having a well-reasoned discussion about whether you actually have a bias. You are likely to shout at your ally, find excuses, and otherwise alienate them. If you truly care about your allies, you need to learn how to suppress that response.
A month ago, Amanda McPherson and Greg Kroah-Hartman from the Linux Foundation asked me to coordinate an internship program aimed at getting more women to participate in the Linux kernel. In order to be considered for an internship, the applicants need to submit patches to the Linux kernel, and get them accepted.
The results have been amazing:
- 41 women applied for 6 Linux kernel internships.
- In 13 days, 374 patches were submitted, and 137 patches were accepted.
- Diff stat for accepted patches:
105 files changed, 3889 insertions(+), 4872 deletions(-)
At AdaCamp D.C. last year, there was a really awesome session where we created a “Gender Gap Timeline”. Basically, there was a timeline that included early childhood, high school, college, and career. Each woman was given a pink notepad and a green notepad. They recorded positive experiences with technology and the tech community on the green notepad, and put negative experiences on the pink notepad. The page was placed at the woman’s age where the experience took place.
It was really useful to see the spikes in positive and negative experiences laid out in chronological order. For the tech women who made it through their careers to attend AdaCamp D.C., there were a lot of good experiences in early childhood. There were also some very common negative experiences, and even trivial negative experiences with a person of power (teacher, parent, mentor) stuck with the women.
Now the people who put on the session have made an online version, and it’s pretty awesome. I think they may be looking for people to help out with it, so contact +Georgia Guthrie if you’re interested in hacking on it.
There’s also a background video if you’re interested.
Want a summer internship working on the Linux kernel?
Internships are available for women and genderqueer/genderfluid people for summer 2013, from June to September. They come with a $5,000 stipend.
We have some pretty awesome projects and helpful mentors, so please apply to the FOSS Outreach for Women (OPW) page.
Please complete your initial application by May 1st. We’re still working on some details, so you’ll be able to update your application until May 17th.
Please share this with any of your friends that might be interested!
Update: If you’re interested in being a mentor for kernel interns in any capacity, or helping review applications or documentations, please let me know. My email is in MAINTAINERS.
+Peter Senna Tschudin asked (about the Pycon incident): “What I can’t understand, and I would like help to understand, is how talking about big dongles to a friend in a conference can become a real problem to a women who is listening. Why did she felt uncomfortable about that? Did she felt threatened? How the dongle size talking could turn into something against her? Can the content of the two guys talking be considered a lack of respect? What are the limits to what can be considered offensive?”
I’m going to take you at face value, and assume you really do want to understand how making simple jokes can cause issues for women in tech. I’m making this a post, because I think lots of my male friends are worried about cracking jokes right now.