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Permanent link to archive for Sunday, August 26, 2001. Sunday, August 26, 2001

Libdex: "This is a list of library-related weblogs."

A stirring story about women in high-tech, by a woman, who asked that her name not be used.

Luke Tymowski: "I donít believe there is any male conspiracy to keep women out of technical positions."

Scott Hansen: "The situation in Germany is probably worse, since there are so many factors against working women in general, especially those with children."

Note: I want to continue covering this where ever it goes. I winced as I read Luke's piece, but I included it because it's a valid part of the conversation. I wouldn't like it if someone wrote something like that about a subject I cared about. After reading the anonymous story, I'm not sure I'd agree that there isn't a male conspiracy to keep women out of tech jobs. I want to be clear on one thing -- I like working with women, I always have. I also don't want women to change who they are to fit in to the workplace. This may sound idealistic, but remember that I'm a man, so if you're looking for a champion, you got one. I said that awkardly in the essay I wrote yesterday that caused such a stir. Now, causing a stir is what I do. So it's working. I'm getting tons of email on this. That's good too.

The JabNews weblog has a new Bryan Bell theme.

You are cordially invited to actively participate in the 2002 International World Wide Web Conference May 7-11 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

ForwardGarden: "A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead."

Jacob Levy reviews Netscape 6.1. "One sentence -- I love it!"

openBox Software: "Utilizing the XML-RPC PHP 'glue' from Useful Inc. and the Blogger API, Parabola aims to allow you to perform nearly all aspects of blogging from this one central web interface."

David Jacques: Something Missing From Open Source.

ZDNet: Ximian to offer shrinkwrap Linux PIM. "Ximian will offer its Evolution application, an e-mail management, calendar and to-do list manager, as a package with documentation in a $29.95 standard edition and $49.95 professional edition."

Three years ago today -- All About Bees.

Scoble's brother: "To top it off, he used our toilet during the job, left the seat up and did not flush. Imagine coming home to that!" Born blogger.

In honor of women in our industry, Craig Burton is working on a new XML-RPC action hero. And guess what, she's a woman. No shit. He doesn't want to show his work in progress, so I'll honor that. Then I got a pointer to a site with pictures of beautiful women, and thought perhaps this one could be our spokesmodel for SOAP.

4/16/01: The XML-RPC Man. Arf arf!

Over to Scoble 

Scoble: "One day last year my seven-year-old son and I were talking about school and such and girls and computers, and he blurted out: 'Oh, dad, everyone knows girls don't use computers.' Now, I certainly didn't teach him this. Where did he learn this?"

Something to consider. Perhaps today's computers are male things. Baseball mitts are also mostly used by men. As are jockstraps and action comics. Men are cavedwellers. Are today's computers electronic caves?

Perhaps we have yet to create an application for computers that handles the multi-tasking and organizational abilities that are special to women. Perhaps it's up to the men to create this for them. I've had that theory for quite a while.

Into taboo 

Scoble also says: "I feel uncomfortable as a man discussing the issue cause I know that no matter what I say I'll be attacked and we won't work together to find a way to address the problem."

He speaks for me. I go into this area with great trepidation. I recognize the despair that Lessing describes, inside myself. It's better to say nothing, I learned at a young age. But inside, even at a young age, I burned with desire to set things straight. "I am not who you say I am."

Sylvia Paull, in an overnight email said "You guys don't need to fight for equality in the industry that you own." I pushed back. "In no sense do I own this industry."

See how this works. The woman's mind tells us who we are, instead of asking and listening. I think Sylvia should be able to figure this out for herself, but sheez, at least ask who we are. I am not Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Scott McNealy or any of a hundred or so people with penises who keep us in the dark ages, fighting for control of us and leaving us with no choice. Sylvia, we have more in common than you think. Why not accept that and use it.

However, I don't see problems, just opportunities. On the decentralization mail list I asked if the P in XML-RPC is People. The discussion up till now has been very male-oriented, about the finer points of plumbing. Only a man could find this interesting (disclaimer: I am a man). But I also think the purpose of this technology is to empower people. The plumbing could up the quality of the tools (male energy) and allow us to organize more effectively (female).

I asked the same question about P2P (the P is for people).

There's a door to open here. If you're a woman in technology, think about how your mind could be added to the discussion. Under what terms would you feel safe expressing what you see and what you think? So far all I've heard is harsh condemnation from women, dismissal and condescention.

Scoble calls this an attack, but I don't see it that way. I'm just looking at a barrier. When Meg looks at me she sees a sexist. Of course I don't see myself that way. And I see Meg as fearful of something. Me too, possibly the flipside of the same thing. At least she has the guts to put it out there. Most women seem not to have the courage. Is staying silent is a female thing too? How can we work together if you don't even show up?

Here's a fact. I am dissatisfied with the way our industry works. I think we can make it better by including the fifty percent of our species that seems not to be participating.

Here's a question. How can we open this door?

My goal: Full employment for all minds that want to contribute to innovation and freedom in our industry.

Since "equality" seems to be the word that women use for this, let's add that to our collective todo list.

"Just say yes."

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong 

Meg pushes back and reminds me of a joke that men find funny and women often don't. If a man says something in a forest and there are no women present is he still wrong?

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Meg says I'm wrong. That is so boring.

Of course I understand I'm making generalizations. Male and female energy come in all kinds of packages. But how can one have a conversation about genders without generalizing. Every statement would have to come with a dozen disclaimers. I know they're there.

Instead of proving how wrong I am, look for bugs in your own system of beliefs. Why do you pick at the details and miss the big picture. Why aren't any women participating in the discussion on new technologies on the Internet. And if they are, where are they? Further, I made an offer. What's the answer?

What if a man offered to help? 

Dori Smith: "This won't change until women start writing to conference organizers and saying 'I'm not going to your show because I object to your practice of having [no women/only one token woman] on your list of speakers.'"

Why can't men write saying the same thing? Why does she only want help from women? What if a man offered to help?

I saw something similar in Sylvia's pitch. She asks: "What is it that makes most men think they are superior to women?"

How does she know that most men think this. What if they don't. What if it's the other way around. What if most men feel inferior to women? Sylvia, Dori and Meg -- try an experiment and ask a few male friends if they feel superior to women. You might be shocked at what you hear. It's not that simple.

Today's song: "If you love somebody, set them free."

BTW, to Dori and Meg, I was talking about gender balancing the attendees of a conference, not the speakers, although one would naturally follow from the other, imho.


Last update: Sunday, August 26, 2001 at 9:44 PM Eastern.

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