Tag Archives: corporate-landia

The left hand of linkspam (19 April 2013)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

The linkspam-industrial complex (15th December, 2010)

  • Call For Participation: Spectral Amoebas – A Blog Carnival about Asexuality and the Autism Spectrum: We are asexual bloggers on the autistic spectrum who want to explore the intersection between autistic and asexual identities. The basis of this project is to have a conversation about our unique experiences being autistic and asexual without looking for a cause.
  • Hillary Clinton Is Asked What Designers She Wears Moments After Making Point About Sexism: because it would be terrible if she forgot for a moment how important it is to be aesthetically pleasing!
  • “Where have all the men gone? Oh yeah, they’re still here – Men hold 84.3% of Fortune 500 board seats.” Catalyst releases a study examining “women’s representation in corporate governance at the largest companies in the United States.”
  • Women in Technology, Western Australia (WITWA) has launched techtrails, an initiative aimed at supplementing the technology sector with new talent. The program operates as a school incursion to raise awareness about program operates as a school incursion to raise awareness about technology careers. WITWA is looking for presenters, volunteers and sponsorship.
  • Women scientists must speak out: [Women’s choices] still cannot explain the near-total absence of women pundits. Sexism must be responsible too. Having both the inclination and the time to do media work myself, I have certainly found myself dropped for programmes and replaced by less-qualified men… Given this bias, I understand why many women might prefer not to get involved.
  • Blag Hag: Feminists’ selective science phobia (warning, substantial “those man-haters make us Good Feminists look bad” vibe in the comments). Evolutionary psychology gets a lot of flack from both inside and outside science. And to be honest, a lot of it is well deserved criticism – too much of evolutionary psychology is arm chair philosophizing and overly optimistic adaptationism, rather than hard data. But I still assert that’s no reason to write off the field as a whole… Unless it doesn’t mesh with your philosophy, of course.
  • IGN’s 2010 Gamer Girl Gift Guide recommends gifts to please men: … make sure to buy the gamer girl in your life a present that actually benefits you instead of her. She’ll love that.
  • (Trigger warnings: fictional rapes.) Rape in MY Anti-Tolkien?: Anti-Tolkien, I think, should be about upsetting the cis-white-male ghetto. It should be about subverting, breaking, and rejecting tropes that make this ghetto such a comfy cesspool to wallow in… It really shouldn’t be about women getting sexually assaulted and liquid brown hitting everything in sight.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the geekfeminism tag on delicious or the #geekfeminism tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

The definitive linkspam of this decade (1st January, 2010)

  • Scientific American claims, “Gal Gamers Geekier Than Guys.” In particular, the study found that the people who were playing the most everquest were older women, not the stereotypical teenaged boy. They claim that “when it comes to dominating the virtual world, women are actually more hardcore than men.”
  • Johanna Rothman discusses problematic terminology for referring to the human beings who make up project teams in A Rant on People, Resources, Men and Women
  • Technical and building toys and child gender came up a few times late December on Sociological Images:
  • GirlTalk Radio: “GirlTalk Radio is [a program] of the Girls, Math & Science Partnership… GirlTalk Radio consists of a series of interviews with women scientists, conducted by girls ages 11 — 16, making their debuts as Pittsburgh radio hosts!” (also on Boing Boing, about which one of our submitters notes “Dammit, BoingBoing, you took a good thing and painted it sexist as hell. Stop that. I know you know better.”)
  • Making Video Games for Little Girls: “In this video, Brenda Laurel discusses her successful computer game for girls. Detailing extensive research on what girls want, Laurel then shows us a some interviews with girls and a bit of the resulting video game, Rocket…”
  • Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. And so is Power.: on questioning rather than accepting power imbalance in gendered interactions.

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism” to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.

Some of my best friends are linkspammers (2nd November, 2009)

  • The Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision 2010 awards, honouring “women making significant contributions in the areas of Innovation, Social Impact and Leadership” are taking nominations until December 11.
  • the f word looked at salaries of men and women in science, engineering and technology on October 30, Equal Pay Day.
  • David Eaves examines the alleged structurelessness of FLOSS through Jo Freeman’s The Tyranny of Structurelessness
  • Felicia Day is taking all the fun out of galaxies colliding.
  • Sun Labs has a technical report out on the success of their mentoring programs.
  • Matt Zimmerman, who writes here, was interviewed by Amber Graner, and mentions his goals regarding women’s participation in the Ubuntu community.
  • Mary Alice Crim reports on a workshop at the National NOW conference to explore feminists’ roles in shaping Internet policy: The Internet is a feminist issue
  • Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was called away from the SOAR conference (a professional event) by family needs, and she’s not buying any pressure for a mother not to complain about having to do that.
  • Casey Johnston (herself a woman gamer) wrote 10 Reasons NOT to Date a Girl Gamer aimed at heterosexual men. The wow_ladies community on LiveJournal tried to figure out what was up with it; tongue-in-cheek?
  • Australian video game review TV show Good Game replaced host Jeremy Ray with Stephanie Bendixsen and Ray alleged that his gender was the primary reason. Sarah Stokely had a look at the PR issues involved.
  • MindTouch has a list of the most influential people in Open Source (from an executive/business perspective) which doesn’t include any women. Mozilla Corporation’s chairperson Mitchell Baker (herself a woman) was not impressed at either women or Mozilla as a whole not appearing.

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism” to bring them to our attention. Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.

Women in tech/women near tech

I subscribe to a lot of blogs related in some way to women and technology, and skim through them at least daily in my feed reader. Lately I’ve noticed that there’s some vital mismatch in terminology going on. And I’m not the only one.

Image credit: Dori Smith

Image credit: Dori Smith

Dori Smith posted about it a couple of months ago with the above image, and Sarah Mei’s comment (which I only just read today, when I revisited the post) really struck me:

… as a programmer myself, I remember a time not so long ago when “women in tech” meant “technical women” – programmers, chip designers, system administrators…etc.

With the mass popularization of tech, starting in the 90s, “women in tech” started to mean “women who work in the technology industry,” which is a very different (and much broader) group.

In the process, the issues faced by technical women, which are quite different than the issues faced by women in other parts of the industry, have fallen off the radar. And that’s sad, because we do need more women actually *doing* tech.

At OSCON, I gave my keynote on women in open source first thing in the morning. As people filed in and took their seats, this video — “Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley” — was playing on the big screens:

In the video, those women who have technical backgrounds aren’t identified as techies: Leah Culver talks about open source, but is identified as the founder of Pownce, not as a programmer, although she is one. Marissa Mayer (who has a degree in computer science) says she thinks of herself as a geek at Google, but the job title the film shows on screen is VP. All the rest of the women profiled are company founders, venture capitalists, and the like.

We absolutely need more women founding tech companies, investing in tech companies, in management at tech companies, and all of that. But… there really is something missing when you treat those women as if they represent all “women in tech”. Where are the women who actually, every day, build technology? Not just use it. Build it.

We see this time and time again. Look at this post about Geek-ternships (a new trend? really?) on the Girls in Tech blog. The only one that mentions any technical skillset suggests HTML and Excel proficiency would be helpful, but aren’t required. All the contributors to that blog are in marketing, except one who is a designer. Dori also pointed out the Technically Women blog, and HuffPo’s Cracking the Boys Club: 10 Pioneers in Tech and Web 2.0.

“Women in tech” articles and blogs like those make me feel invisible. Not cool.

Here are some “… In Tech” groups that are actually for women *IN* tech, not just near it:

  • Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology: We are women technologists. We use technology to connect our communities. We create technology because it is who we are — intelligent, creative and driven. We lead with compassion and a belief in inclusion. We develop competitive products and find solutions to problems that impact our lives, our nation, our world. Together, through the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI), we are inventing a better future.
  • Women In Technology Project: Our mission is to build and strengthen the education to workforce pipeline by encouraging girls, women and other underrepresented groups into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
  • NCWIT: We believe that inspiring more women to choose careers in IT isn’t about parity; it’s a compelling issue of innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability. In a global economy, gender diversity in IT means a larger and more competitive workforce; in a world dependent on innovation, it means the ability to design technology that is as broad and creative as the people it serves.
  • Girls in Technology: The mission of Girls in Technology is to support academic and community programs that engage school-age girls in technology and computer-related learning. Currently, GIT furthers its mission by supporting summer camps and after school computer clubs for girls that provide technology/math/science enrichment and promote leadership skills.

(And, for the record, none of their websites are pink, and the only one with “girls” in the name is for school-aged children. Just sayin’.)

Want more women in open source? Try paying them.

This is a remix of a post by the same name I made after running a BOF on attracting women to open source.

One of the most interesting suggestions I’ve heard on how to get more women into open source is pretty simple: Pay them.

As someone who loves doing this as a volunteer, I want to protest. Shouldn’t we all be doing this for the betterment of the world or something? But the more I think about it, the more I love this idea.

Think about the challenges women face getting involved with open source projects.

Feeling like they don’t belong? Paying someone is a pretty strong “we want you” signal, both to the woman herself and to others who might challenge her.

Not having enough time because of other life-work commitments? Making it your paid gig makes this the “work” part of that equation, rather than some part that just doesn’t quite fit.

Fewer opportunities for mentoring? Again, having the structure of a company behind you can make it a lot easier to ask for help within a known structure rather than trying to guess the social norms of an open source project.

There aren’t many women? Well, hiring a few is a great way to get the ball rolling, hopefully making it easier for future women. It’s an interesting way to handle the bootstrapping problem.

Paying women to do open source work isn’t going to solve all our problems, but it cuts through a lot of the Gordian knot that’s there. It just might be a useful tool for changing the status quo.

Changing technology from within

I bring you greetings from Corporate-landia!

Ten years ago I was one of the first employees on board a brand new technology industry analysis company. Research turned out to be my dream job. I spend my days talking to interesting people in startups and userland, and then I write about them.

The big surprise is how enterprisey and corporate my dream job has turned out to be. As my company grows, I spend more and more time with Fortune 500 companies in and out of the tech industry, Wall Street banks and pension and hedge funds. The view of feminism from here is decidedly peculiar. On the one hand, you’d never get away with using porn images in a presentation here in Corporate-landia: human resources would eat your entrails.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that women are thin on the ground here, and get scarcer as you climb the power and money ladders. In ten years in the industry I have encountered perhaps fifty or sixty women in very senior positions in banks and software companies; that probably comes to 1% of my contacts.

The glass ceiling is reinforced in all kinds of subtle and manipulative ways. A few examples: if you get pregnant, don’t be surprised if someone absent-mindedly asks if you can postpone the birth for a few weeks. It’s assumed that women won’t come back to work after having children. Because of that assumption, no proper provisions are made for their return to work; lacking this support, I’ve seen many women come back half-heartedly only to resign for good a few weeks later. And while it’s a big priority for me as a mother of two kids, motherhood is very far from being the only area in which women have to struggle for equal treatment in the workplace.

Like Liz, I believe there’s enormous power in solidarity, in reaching out to other women in similar circumstances, in sharing our experiences and what worked for us, even in the simple act of listening to one another and acknowledging the truth of our lives. And like Skud I am excited by success stories and signs of hope, and want to share news of women doing kickass and amazing things!