women


Women in open source. Women in programming. Women in tech at all. Where are they? View the complete collection of Women in Open Source articles We’re familiar with the statistics, and we’ve seen the photos from the tech conferences. Seas full of men. It requires patience to scan for the odd female in those auditoriums. It’s a popular topic, this scarcity of women in technology, one of the hip things to whine about these days. It’s politically correct to blame the male “priesthood” in Silicon Valley. Ask Paul Graham. He took it in the ribs after a few reckless comments about the funding practices of his startup seed accelerator, Y Combinator. He was quoted as saying, “God knows what you would do to get 13 year old girls interested in computers. I would have to stop and think about that,” in a recent article. Ouch. But, really, is he so wrong? I have an 11 year old daughter. Even though she sees me sitting at my computer for ungodly hours of the day making a living for her, she’s a lot more interested in watching Katy Perry on YouTube than learning how to write code on Khan Academy. Why is that? Coding is fun. Writing some lines of PHP, hitting enter, and watching the look of an entire website change in an instant, now that’s exhilarating! Well… it doesn’t wear a candy striped leotard and strut around through a maze of life-sized lollipops. For years, I’ve been wishing somebody like Wired Magazine or Opensource.com would do an annual “Sexiest Geek Alive” issue, like People magazine does. Give me Matt Mullenweg, Linus Torvalds, or Nick Roach over Adam Levine any day. I’m literally weak in the knees thinking of the long list I could make. Is there anything sexier than a man who can DO something?! I had come to the conclusion that what the open source community needed was more sex appeal, starting with some geeky pinup boys. Then, I read an article by Sarah Pressler which convinced me of the danger of that kind of thinking. I’ve realized that’s not exactly the best direction, as fun as it sounds at first. Boys might attract girls… but eventually, what we want is more females getting enchanted with the mysteries of open source. We want them to feel the rush of writing code or contributing to an open source project. They’ll get interested when they think it might be as fun as putting on makeup or listening to a pop song. So, instead of whining about the dearth of women in technology, let’s show them how fun it is! Seeing incredible, powerful women in the community will draw the girls in. Female role models...

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