Hacking the Gender Gap

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.

The PyCon Incident, Lizard Brains, and Bad Jokes

+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.

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