[Fsf-friends] women and free software

V. Sasi Kumar sasi.fsf at gmail.com
Mon Feb 23 01:41:07 IST 2009

On Sun, 2009-02-22 at 23:13 +0530, Krishnakant wrote:
> hello,
> Yes there are a lot of women teachers and as I said earlier the girls
> tend to go for some typicle circle of job options.

Krishnakant, we have men working in various kinds of jobs involved in
many different kinds of other activities. The men and boys in this list
itself must be working in various different kinds of jobs. Some of them
may be employed in the kinds of jobs that you refer to. You see the men
here, but not as many women. I don't know whether software is not the
kind of work that women do not really enjoy, in general. Assuming that
there is no such gender difference, we should be seeing so many more
women here, since the sex ratio in the general population is pretty
close to 1:1. And, in Kerala, females are more. Interestingly, to
subscribe to a mailing list and to send responses occasionally, one
doesn't even have to leave one's home. We need to understand why, then,
we have very few females here. Is it because they tend to be overloaded
with their jobs plus their domestic responsibilities? This could be a
reason. Though gender equality is not one of the objectives of this
list, I think it is an issue in all spheres of human activity, and,
therefore, should be discussed everywhere. It is important that we do
not, by any means, keep away one half of the population.

> Today free and open source culture has created new avanues of working
> and the way in which we work also differs with reference to such
> organisations.  What I found is that due to obvious social conditions,
> this is the place where not many girls are seen.

My idea is to understand why. If it is that women do not find this
activity very interesting, and, therefore, don't want to get involved,
it is fine with me. But if there is something that keeps them away,
especially something that we do or don't do, then we should look into it
and take corrective measures. Is there something we can do to get more
girls/women to join this list and come for our meetings? Of course, the
timing of our meetings and the kind of venues we fix, are probably two
examples of points that we should take care of to make it convenient for
our female friends. It is true that there are social pressures that
inhibit their participation, but there may be little we can do about it.

V. Sasi Kumar
Free Software Foundation of India

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