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GitHub donates private repositories to women learning open source software (adainitiative.org)
74 points by nealyoung 1635 days ago | hide | past | web | 175 comments | favorite



You know this makes me sick. Time and time again, articles pop up here on HN talking about some organization trying to promote and encourage women in technology and the comments explode with privileged boys whining about about how "it's not fair"

You know what's not fair? A Teacher telling a 12 year old girl that she needs a backup plan because girls getting an engineering degree, well, that's hard. Getting one from MIT, girls just don't do that. With the very next breath telling the boy standing next to the girl that she (the teacher) knows he can get into MIT if he works hard.

I'm just sick of it. I'm sick of my little girl coming home crying because some idiot crushed her dream of an engineering degree from MIT because girls don't do that. I'm sick of the privileged idiots here, complaining that women are getting some kind of advantage because they get a free github account. I'm sick of cluelessness.

The barriers for women in the workplace are difficult enough, it's worse in tech. The sooner we accept that, and accept that some organizations really are try to make a difference, the better off we'll be. How many times have we read stories about women who are alienated by their peers because their interests align with something that isn't "girlie." Please!

I've fought hard to teach my girls that society's barriers are there to be knocked down, that they shouldn't get discouraged and that they can do what ever they want. 18 years later, I'm proud that my oldest has ignored the criticism, the "you can't do that, it's a man's job" BS and is on her way to the Coast Guard where she will train as a rescue swimmer (there's only 7 women rescue swimmers now). I'm proud that my youngest stood up to that teacher and told her: well, perhaps MIT isn't the place for her. After all, MIT engineers ask UIUC engineers for help of the real difficult problems, though MIT will make a fine backup plan.

My point is, boys, get over it. I'm sorry you didn't get something for free. Oh wait, you did. You got to be male, a much bigger advantage than a free private github repository.

Edit: Spelling/grammer


How will a private repository will change anything?

We are on the internet, most of the time we have no idea which genre you are. Any women will get the same treatment as a men. I understand the issue in "real life" and it must be really awful to have to live that. However the internet should be considered safe for them and for me this action just give them a reason to doubt that they are accepted here too. Giving them the opportunity to hide their code doesn't solve any issue, it just create more issue. We could easily take any argument agaisn't code folding or commit rebase in version control and they would fit perfectly here.

You can't solve anything by hiding it.

EDIT:

Do you think that by removing every girl in engineering classrooms and giving them a private teacher that would help too? It's the same on the internet. Show them that they can be accepted, not that they should be separated.


Please don't conflate people being ignorant of their privilege with legitimate criticism of The Ada Initiative.

The Ada Initiative is a destructive and notorious concern-troll organization that is reviled by many feminists of both genders. They hurt all real initiatives for resolving inequality and bias in technology. Supporting them is destructive.


Can you back this statement up please? I'm interested to hear where these comments originate.


You can get a flavor for the Ada Initiative ahead. This happened at last year's Defcon.

http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/did-feminists-cancel-violet...


Thanks for providing this information. I find censorship unethical and would have looked forward to Violet's talk. Also to assume that rape only happens to women is myopic.


Although I'm not very impressed with the Ada Initiative, that talk should have never been accepted because it had nothing to do with the focus of the conference. It was not about security. It was also at B-Sides, not Defcon.


http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/03/01/stigmatizin...

...is one good example of their concern-trolling.

They dress up their own sex-negative bullshit in feminist clothing and use it to censor and attack people who do not engage in discrimination or sexism in any way whatsoever, based solely on their own personal agendas.

It's repugnant to every single feminist (of any gender) that I've spoken to familiar with these events.

As far as I can tell, it seems to me to be the outgrowth of various personality disorders possessed by Valerie Aurora, the founder of the Ada Initiative. It serves as a convenient venue for her to attack others under the guise of promoting equal rights. It appears that she only supports equal rights as long as you are presenting exclusively on topics that she approves of.


Thanks for responding. Fortunately women don't have a single Leader so while Valerie may be doing good work through certain initiatives she should find that other women who disagree with censorship will not support these actions.


If you're interested in TAI's position on discussing sex in technical conferences and how that (in general) impacts women's participation:

http://adainitiative.org/2012/09/when-sex-and-porn-are-on-to... (This post predates the BSides incident by 5 months.)

And, about BSides:

http://adainitiative.org/2013/02/keeping-it-on-topic-the-pro...

http://adainitiative.org/2013/03/clarification-on-the-ada-in...


The talk that they censored WAS TO BE GIVEN BY A WOMAN.

That doesn't really hold up their argument of sexualized environments in tech being inherently hostile to women participating, does it?

Anyone who examines this can see that this is simply a personal censorship crusade by Ms. Aurora, presumably as a result of her own sex-related trauma(s) and/or upbringing. (Google her and her father for her own account of it— it's not ad hominem.)[1]

Just because her psyche has been damaged does not mean she has the right to attempt to censor others who are not participating in discriminatory behavior. The whole thing about "exploit" in the title being a synonym for rape (as in exploiting a system without the owner's consent) illustrates how ridiculous her flimsy argument against it was and is.

This sort of concern-trolling makes women in tech appear to be hard to work with or require special handling/censorship considerations, and is actively harmful to the struggle for gender equality. It has absolutely no place whatsoever at a tech conference.

[1] http://valerieaurora.org/keith.html


I find the continued personal attacks on Val to be disgusting and an embarrassment to people in the hacker and security communities. I no longer consider myself to be part of those communities, but once was.

My hope is that people see these statements for what they are: disgusting personal attacks.


I am not attacking her personally, just criticizing her actions. I was careful to make that completely unambiguous.

What gave you the impression that I was attacking her?



Perhaps that's true (anecdotally, it does seem to be), yet, I've reached a point that I just can't stand by anymore. I've refrained from commenting on past articles that fall into the same line of reasoning we see here, but, I guess, I've reached a breaking point.

We, as men, must stand up and start knocking the entitlement out of those who refuse to recognize their privilege.


That last paragraph is exactly the reason i hate this sexist talks, it doesn't matter if its the boys or girls that are complaining..

I don't know if that's the case in the place you are living right now but, if you think that being a boy or a girl its an advantage then you are part of that problem..

Boys will always be boys, ignore them and move on.


If you can't recognize that men have a vast amount of privilege compared to women, then I don't really know what to say.

Last year a man named Geordie Tait posted an article called "To My Someday Daughter"[1]. It's quite long, but definitely worth reading. The context is gaming, but the central thesis is sexism. One quote from the article that really opened my eyes to how radically different men and women view the world comes from section 7 of the article. It's a quote by Gavin de Becker, and it says

"Men and women live in different worlds. At core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them."

And according to my girlfriend, this is not even the slightest bit exaggerated.

[1]: http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/22786_To_My_Someday_...


> If you can't recognize that men have a vast amount of privilege compared to women, then I don't really know what to say.

The locally-defined concept of "male privilege" is quite possibly the least productive gender generalization to use in a conversation about gender equality.

This -- along with redefinitions of vocabulary to justify offense (see the comment about 'female' being offensive), and truisms that assert that any opposition to preferred policy is opposition to gender equality (see the reference to Lewis's law, or your own murder quote), are why these conversations are so pointlessly and ridiculously laden in rhetorical nonsense as to be useless.

> "Men and women live in different worlds. At core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them." And according to my girlfriend, this is not even the slightest bit exaggerated.

According to my wife, this is ridiculous and your girlfriend should adopt a more fact-based view of the world.

I looked it up. From 2000 to 2010, there were 128,971 male victims of murder in the US. There were 35,777 female victims.

http://projects.wsj.com/murderdata

To use your own rhetorical approach: if you disagree with me, "then I don't really know what to say". (sarcasm intended).


> The locally-defined concept of "male privilege" is quite possibly the least productive gender generalization to use in a conversation about gender equality.

Well, let's clear it up then: "Male privilege refers to the social theory that men have unearned social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are granted to them solely on the basis of their sex, and which are usually denied to women."

It's actually a fairly useful generalization, and most understand what's implied by the use of the term. Of course the real problem isn't the use of rhetoric, it's the outright dismissal of the argument because rhetoric or faux outrage was used to make a point (or, as in my original comment, _real_ outrage).

I'm sorry to say, but we're past the time to be calm, cool, and collected. It's time to get angry, and it's time to put and end to gender inequality. Especially in tech, where we claim to hold ourselves to a higher moral standard.


> Well, let's clear it up then: "Male privilege refers to the social theory that men have unearned social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are granted to them solely on the basis of their sex, and which are usually denied to women."

The useful part is "... which are usually denied to women". The rest is just divisive stereotyping.

> It's actually a fairly useful generalization, and most understand what's implied by the use of the term.

Useful how, exactly? Other than stoking the flames of online discourse, and writing off viewpoints by using "privilege" as a rhetorical bat, I don't see much that can be usefully garnered by pulling the trigger on that particular weapon.

> It's time to get angry, and it's time to put and end to gender inequality. Especially in tech, where we claim to hold ourselves to a higher moral standard.

As far as I can tell, you're getting angry at the wrong people, for the wrong reasons.

You really think the tech industry is responsible for clueless mouth breathers telling your daughters that technology is 'boy stuff'?

I'd look at the educational system and the magazine rack at the supermarket. By the time someone gets to the technology industry, they've already been subjected to a lifetime of indoctrination and have missed out on critical educational opportunities. We're not paid to be educators or social crusaders; we're here to write software, design hardware, and ship products.

We do need to have access to better candidates, and one way to do that is by broadening the pool to draw from, but divisive adults playing at identity politics won't help with that problem.


>Useful how, exactly?

As a two word phrase which everyone understands to mean the social theory that men have unearned social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are granted to them solely on the basis of their sex, and which are usually denied to women.

> As far as I can tell, you're getting angry at the wrong people, for the wrong reasons.

>You really think the tech industry is responsible for clueless mouth breathers telling your daughters that technology is 'boy stuff'?

Directly no, but by saying it's not our job to deal with the problem, you're just as culpable. So long as there are people in this industry, or any other, who refuse to address gender issues because it's not our job, or there's nothing I can do about it, then those are the people I should be getting angry at. By refusing to acknowledge the problem and addressing it directly, we allow the problem to continue.

As an industry that embrases diversity (gender; racial; social) but suffers from a lack of it, regardless of blame, it's on us to stand up to society and find solutions. We should be social crusaders. By being a members of the society in which the problem exists, it _is_ our responsibility to work to correct it.

My job is not "to write software, design hardware, and ship products," from the moment my daughters were born my job is educator, and social advocate. Shipping products: That's just what I do to pay the bills. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do for a living. I still get excited about new toys (we have new equipment showing up next week), cool projects, being involved in cutting-edge research, but at the end of the day, it's all meaningless. None of it compares to the glow in my daughters eyes two years ago when she opened the Mindtorms kit she got for christmas, or the excitement _she_ has when she pulls out the erector set with some grand new idea.

So, yeah, _my_ job is to educate and crusade.


> As a two word phrase which everyone understands to mean the social theory that men have unearned social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are granted to them solely on the basis of their sex, and which are usually denied to women.

How do you think people react to hearing that what they perceive (often rightfully) as hard-earned success was, in your eyes, unearned?

It's not a productive line of discussion.

> So, yeah, _my_ job is to educate and crusade.

Using divisive and emotional rhetoric just makes people stop listening.

I'd be interested in sponsoring, hosting, or otherwise contributing to non-gendered youth programs that were welcoming to girls and boys.

I don't even know where to start, but I do know that the Ada Initiative's divisive identity politics and concern-trolling aren't something I agree with, and disagreement with their organization doesn't make me a "male privileged" moral bankrupt individual.


> How do you think people react to hearing that what they perceive (often rightfully) as hard-earned success was, in your eyes, unearned?

Ahh, but that's the guts of male privilege isn't it. Their hard-earned success was much easier to come by than a women whose achieved the same level of success. That's what privilege means. It was easier for man to gain that success than their women counterpart. Perhaps not so rhetorical after all. It just stings. Sometimes the truth does that. And sometimes, the only way to break through the denial of an issue is to take a hard stance.

This _is_ an emotional issue. It's people's lives we're talking about. As young women, it's emotional for my daughters. As a father, it's emotional for me. As developers who want to "expand the talent pool", it's emotional for the industry. As people who wish to be blind to gender, it's emotional for society.

> I'd be interested in sponsoring, hosting, or otherwise contributing to non-gendered youth programs

That's great. I'm involved in several myself, including the STEM outreach program at our schools. That doesn't mean that programs targeted at young girls aren't necessary. These "gendered" programs are as much about counter-acting the social pressure the keeps them out of STEM as they are about introducing and developing interest in STEM generally.

Now, I don't know anything about the Ada Initiative, so I'll leave that alone, but will say this, as I said before, ignoring the problem may not make you morally bankrupt, but it does make you complicit in others bankruptcy.


> Ahh, but that's the guts of male privilege isn't it. Their hard-earned success was much easier to come by than a women whose achieved the same level of success. That's what privilege means. It was easier for man to gain that success than their women counterpart. Perhaps not so rhetorical after all. It just stings. Sometimes the truth does that. And sometimes, the only way to break through the denial of an issue is to take a hard stance.

Do you want to be right, or do you want to be heard?


> Their hard-earned success was much easier to come by than a women whose achieved the same level of success.

But perhaps the men never wanted to be engineers and society forced them. It wasn't easy for them to give up their dreams. But they did because of evil society.

It goes both ways.


Gender problems depends a lot on where are you living.

That's not the case where i live in, why? because we do not care about such things, treat woman and man the same way. unlike the old american racism, in modern countries there are no laws that discriminate girls.. why should we teach our daughters to fight for something that's not a problem?

Education is all we need, why should they hide their code? they should be proud of it


Where do you live? I have an extremely hard time believing that there is no gender inequality where you live. Far more likely is simply that you're blind to the inequality, having grown up immersed in male privilege.


Mexico, it looks like you're taking this too personal, keep calm and happy coding :)


Like most things the Ada Initiative does, this makes no sense once you scratch past the surface.

Even if women risk more criticism as newbies, the risk still exists for everyone, and solving it for part of the group only is discrimination.

If Github really cared about intimidation, they would offer a free private repo to new users as a promo, or perhaps have a $1/month micro plan. Instead they accept a small minority of users for free who wouldn't have paid anyway and score good will PR points.

And if the Ada Initiative cared about making women a part of the community, then they would recognize that those women will want to collaborate in private with men too, who should be given the same opportunity to experiment in private.

Modern feminists are the biggest sexists around, they keep acting like women can't compete with men on equal ground, even in a place as anonymous as the internet.

Have you ever noticed how the people complaining the loudest about online abuse are always the ones with the biggest pictures of themselves on their blogs? Featuring their lovely blue hair, tattoos, piercings, shot in their Pinterest-approved bedrooms? It's princesses all over again, and most women can see through the bullshit too.


No, you got it wrong.

>if you think that being a boy or a girl its an advantage then you are part of that problem

Unwillingness to recognize that women are at a disadvantage due to long-term social mores is part of the problem.

"Boys will always be boys, ignore them and move on?" You really don't get it, do you? Every little comment, snide remark, finger pointing... Words are sharp, they cut deep. In the end, it's these social pressures that result in fewer women entering STEM programs and careers. Ignoring them? No, that's not what we do. We, as men, must stop ignoring the problem, and put ourselves out there. Stop being silent, the problem will not go away, unless we speak up.


Like i said before.. this is not a world wide social problem, my college was almost half boys, half girls. The highest grade was a girl, why? not because she was a girl.. but because she was freaking smart.

Its like african americans complaining about racism, i don't get it.. they are the coolest thing on earth right now!! Ignore that uneducated minority and move on.


I'm sure there are areas of the world where gender equality isn't a problem, but where your're from (mexico as indicated above) it most certainly is. A quick internet search came up with hundreds of articles on the gender equality issues in Mexico, including, a female to male income ratio of .62, ranking Mexico 53rd (USA is 13th at .67).

So guess what, privileged male, it is a very big problem where you live.


Ah! I shouldn't feed the trolls.


I made this comment because of the 'privileged male' part.


cosmez:

> Its like african americans complaining about racism, i don't get it.. they are the coolest thing on earth right now!! Ignore that uneducated minority and move on.

rac·ism /ˈrāˌsizəm/

Noun

The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race.


You will agree when I say that being a male or a female is not really an advantage or disadvantage. And that either gender should be allowed to pursue whatever they like. If the teacher, society and everyone else in the world says to your little one that she cannot do it, you say to her she can. Because she can and your gender doesn't matter. And when you start telling your daughter that she can, that is one less person in the "society" who says she can't or shouldn't. When you tell your daughter that there is nothing that a girl or a boy cannot do, your daughter will grow up to be one more impartial member of the society.

And I think you will agree with me when I say that it is better to have a public repository, if you want to learn(unless ofcourse github wants female programmers to become closed source programmers). By handing out a freebie to the girls, you are telling the boys the exact same thing which your daughter's teacher told her.

We don't want girls/boys to become programmers, we want them to become whatever they want to. Having promotional activities for females may send a wrong impresion about a particular field to boys - who are also as human and as impresionable as the girls are in school. How many boys do you think take up engineering, just because it is seen as a manly branch and the society expects them to? I would argue many and that is a massive disadvantage to the boys who want to pursue something else.

We should aim at leveling the field instead of providing some people a helping hand at the cost of others. If helping girls take up CS is done by having girls-only CS colleges, free tuition for female CS students or free course material or as in this case free services based on gender, I will say stop. Because boys who are thinking of taking up CS will cry foul. What did your neighbour's son do to not deserve a free github private repo?

Instead, try changing the society. Tell your sons and daughters they can do anything. Tell your students that gender means nothing. Tell the teachers at your daughters school to back off and complain about her to the school authorities.

To be honest, I have no idea if that will work. But what I do believe is if you start handing out freebies to someone based on gender, it will poison the well for the boys, who will cry foul. It wasn't their fault they were born as boys. Equality - yes. Preferential treatment - no.


Actually, I don't agree with much of what you've said. Men do have advantages, socially, politically, and economically, that women do not have, and those advantages are far more prevalent in STEM fields than most others. These programs, directed at young women, act as a counter-balance (though a weak one) to the societal pressures that keep them out of technology in the first place. When men (of any age) cry foul, well, I just don't have any sympathy. Even with these programs, the scales still weigh heavily in our favor.

Up to this point, I've not taken a stance on this particular program, but I will not. There's plenty of research that suggests that the impact of public ridicule on young women is different than the impact on young men. While the reasons for this aren't, necessarily, clear, the reaction is different. Allowing young women to develop their skills in a "safe" environment where criticism can be sought from trusted sources prior to making that work public has been shown to be beneficial. So, in the end, I do support the idea of making it easier for young women to to get private github accounts. As I also support "girls only" clubs that help develop their skills, and counter act the social pressures that push young women away from technology in the first place. These programs do exactly as you suggest, they attempt to level the playing field by giving women certain advantages and encouragement to balance the social, political, and economic advantages that men already have. Until such time as we actually have gender equality, these programs are necessary.


I certainly hope that a time comes when things are better. Not just for women and not just in IT. I don't know the situation on the ground and neither do I work in education. The views above are what I hold with the limited experience that i have had and are malleable.



Thanks, I didn't know such a thing existed. We're a little past it though. Her interests are in industrial robots, and she's been building with a Mindstorms kit for a couple of years now. We're likely to move on to Arduino based projects over the summer break.


Yes, it's for younger girls for sure. Arduino is really going to open her eyes, especially if you can gather data and show how statistics can be used for training and informing computers to help us. If she's interested in programming I think Ruby has the nicest introduction (I'm partial to Python as you get access to a lot of sciency libraries) but I've run through this with 9-12 year olds successfully: http://tryruby.org


It's exactly "the teacher" telling an adult woman that she needs a private repository because learning coding is hard, and she needs extra protection from having it open sourced. Women just can't go ahead and do open source, period, they need a backup plan. How exactly is it encouraging and fair to women? You completely missed the point that it wasn't about the free repos. On a top of it, it's Ada Initiative giving their own space on GitHub (upon you emailing them, sigh), not GitHub itself. I myself wouldn't sign up to them, they sound quite toxic and politicized... (for the reference, I'm a woman, a software developer).


> This reluctance has good reasons behind it: fear of being told they are bad programmers, fear of being publicly mocked or harassed, and even fear of losing job opportunities. All of these are greater risks for women on average than men.

[Citation needed]

Edit, to expand on the kneejerk reaction: I find it difficult to accept the premise that this is a female-only problem. I've been reluctant to post my code before as well, and I'm male. The sometimes ruthless mockery of code isn't confined to code written by females.


> I find it difficult to accept the premise that this is a female-only problem.

It doesn't need to be a woman-only problem. It just needs to affect women disproportionately.

Scratch that, it doesn't need to be _anything_. Giving free repos to _anyone_ does no harm to anyone who's not getting them, so the only thing this does is help a group of people.

Now, you may argue that GitHub should be helping a specific group of people over another one, but they've chosen to help who they've chosen to help.


Yeah, I could have worded my objection better. I'm not doubting that the rather brutal nature of OSS is a problem for both men and women. I'm just skeptical that it affects women disproportionately.

If you say "getting your code ripped to shreds in public sucks," I'd wholeheartedly agree with you. If you say "getting your code ripped to shreds in public as a woman sucks more," that's where I get skeptical. And if that's the case, why is it a bigger problem for women?

Note that I'm not arguing against GitHub giving private repos to whomever they please. They can sponsor who they like. I was just looking for some explanation of that "women are more affected by this than men" claim.


Here's a good reason: your entire comment is judgmental and assuming. It's not about hearing "hey, good job girl! Have a cookie!" It's about not hearing "your code is badly formatted, didn't you go to CS school?" instead of "that was a good refactor there, but you'll find it easier to read and share if you indent". Women have just grown up in different kind of group dynamics - and while women can be horribly nasty to each other in artificial groups, it's usually not the case when they choose to work together independently.


To quote another story on the front page:

... that’s what happens when we hold events for women in IT when there aren’t that many women in this industry – we tend to broaden the definition of women in IT.

The software industry exists to write software, and ideally it's good software. We're not here to engender happy feelings about bad code. If you're worried about immature people non-constructively mocking your code, then the solution is to realize that those people are unlikely to be particularly great developers themselves, and aren't worth paying attention to.

Any sufficiently experienced and mature developer ought to know better than to throw stones from the glass house of their own imperfection. It's better to join or create a welcoming community of experts, than trying to create a coddling safe-space where equally inexperienced people can provide each other with congratulatory pats on the back.


There are an estimated 9-12% women in the field of programming. Are you saying that 90% of the female population has no balls? Or is it more likely that due the systemic method of education, girls don't get interested in programming because by the time they are taught it, the boys are in the computer lab making a ruckus and they'd rather go socialize elsewhere. I speak with teachers at primary schools who get girls as young as 9 to enter robotics competitions. I mentor young programmers to stay enthused, get through their teen years (more often than not, not programming because of socialization aspect) and pick it up again in their later teens when being alone is fine again. And now the IRC channels and open source communities are solely male and there seems no way in. Ada, of all foundations, knows this better than anyone and this is very, very small step to get some more girls back into coding and sharing that experience with others.


> Are you saying that 90% of the female population has no balls?

No. The major hurdles to becoming a programmer are crossed long before it becomes time to put code in a github repository.

> Or is it more likely that due the systemic method of education, girls don't get interested in programming because by the time they are taught it, the boys are in the computer lab making a ruckus and they'd rather go socialize elsewhere.

Given that there aren't any well-considered studies that show fundamental non-socially-caused cognitive differences between men and women, and that behavior seems to be entirely mutable and culturally-driven, then the fact that "they'd rather go socialize elsewhere" is likely the result of considerable cultural programming outside the immediate realm of putting code into a machine.

Of course, it's not that simple -- yours is a broad and inaccurate generalization of what girls want in school, and of how boys behave in school. Personally speaking, I didn't want to spend any time in the computer lab either, because the only people in there were super-nerds playing video games for hours.


> the only people in there were super-nerds playing video games for hours

I know! It was really annoying. I just wanted to get stuck into computerized maths, CAD and plotting when I was 14 but it was uncomfortable being the only girl in the lab during lunch hours. If there had been another boy or girl I respected as a friend there I might have joined in, not to be sociable but just knowing there was someone else there who wasn't geeking out on gaming.


Compared to advancing your knowledge of programming, CAD, et al, it's a lot easier to bolster your ego and social standing with video games, so that's what those kids do.

I think the solution (for schools, anyway) would be adult-led structured activities where intelligence and hard work are rewarded: electronics/robotics/programming clubs, with long-term group projects where people with varied levels of experience can be accommodated.

I'd naively like to believe that gender can be left out of it, other than making a structured effort to recruit students irrespective of gender.


>bolster your ego and social standing with video games

I had never had it explained to me like that - maybe girls and boys separate themselves so much as teenagers there's just a huge amount of information we don't have. If I was back at school and I knew that I would have had no problem hanging out in the computer lab, knowing that what was going on was a male-growing-up thing and outside of my participation.

I believe that we can have gender-neutral education. Sports is good at it but women and minorities fought hard in the 20th century for equal right to the field. Something to think about.


This is terribly off-topic, but you don't have any contact info in your profile. Are you going to AdaCamp in June, by chance? If you are, please email me (it's in my profile), because I'm going and I've love to get to know other attendees. If you're not, you should apply if it's reasonable for you to attend (it's in San Francisco). The application period ends on April 30th. http://sf.adacamp.org/apply/


I had the same initial reaction (and came to post something similar), but I think I was wrong. It's not that it doesn't happen to men, because it absolutely does, but I think that men, in general, won't understand the emotional impact being give "I'm just being honest in the most prickish way possible" advice might have on a woman.

This is not to imply that they are dainty creatures that must be protected, but rather that the way they learn and the influence of that environment is very much different than it is for men.

I applaud github for taking this step, but I would applaud them more for giving it to everybody. Then it isn't about whether a woman needs a "safe place", but whether somebody new to programming needs a safe place. And that would be better for everybody.


For what it's worth, you'd be completely welcome as far as I'm (as a female) concerned. Women don't want to just hang out with women but this is an opportunity for us to get our feet wet in the OS community. As soon as a project is underway with pride, it will become a public repo and I hope you can seek out those communities and work alongside.

I just watched The Color Purple last night. It rings true in me because it's not that people aren't free - it's the constant, constant underlying of fear from all sides. If you have fear as a man then women don't want that either - you should be proud and comfortable as only fear begets fear.


Agreed. The open-source world is famously bare knuckled, from the top down.

When your standard bearers are the famously freaky rms, or the famously acerbic Linus, the tone set tends to be rather concerned with "truth" and absolutely unconcerned with "feelings".

Not making this right or wrong. Just saying.


Supposing that this problem does affect men and women alike, there is still good reason for GitHub to target one group and not the other. The deck is stacked against women due to sexism, e.g. kitchen jokes; this will take time to end. In the mean time, GitHub can mitigate other pain points to make life as a female programmer easier.


Females as a noun is used to refer to lower animals, I believe you mean women.


I referred to myself as male, not as a man, in the same way I referred to females rather than women. It's pretty obvious I wasn't using it in a demeaning way, unless I was also demeaning myself.


It's not as commonly used to demean men, so that's not an excuse. Besides, you're not a Ferengi. Stop talking like you are.


In a conversation that's already quite likely to run off the rails, playing a one-sided vocabulary shaming game is unlikely to improve the dialogue.


Voidkom's created an account specifically for this thread. Please join me while I ignore the troll. I've already fallen into their trap by responding.


Source?

Right now that's just reading like a baseless claim and it sounds ridiculous to me that "females" is derogatory. I've never heard of such a claim before in my entire life.


There are two reasons why "female" is problematic:

1. It refers to sex, not gender. I know many women who do not possess a vagina. 2. It sounds very clinical and sterile. It's appropriate for, say, a scientific survey, but not for addressing other humans with the respect they deserve.

I don't refer to 'men' as 'males,' either.


> There are two reasons why "female" is problematic: ..

Your reply demonstrates some standard rhetorical landmines used by fringe groups:

1) Redefine words within your subculture (in this case: 'gender', 'sex', 'male', and 'female') and then use the new definitions to claim externally inconsiderate use of those words.

2) Assume that whether or not someone was offended ultimately defines ethical norms (especially when tied to #1, redefining vocabulary to create reasons for offense).


I don't care whatsoever about 'offense.' I do care about causing actual harm to human beings. De-humanizing others causes actual harm, through things like wage gaps, (in this case) rape culture, lack of equal rights, etc.

1) There's no 'redefinition' going on here. Sex is a biological thing, a scientific term. If you say "male" and "female," I'd argue you're being a bit clinical, but if you say "man" and "female," you're obviously demonstrating something. It may not be conscious, but you are.

2) You're free to have whatever ethical norms you want, but just like 'free speech,' that doesn't mean you're free from criticism. You can call anyone whatever you like, doesn't mean that I (and others) won't think you're a shitty person, _especially_ after having an explicit conversation about it.

"Hey, this thing hurts me." / "I don't care, I can say whatever I want."


> 1) There's no 'redefinition' going on here.

"However, Money's meaning of the word [gender] did not become widespread until the 1970s, when feminist theory embraced the distinction between biological sex and the social construct of gender. Today, the distinction is strictly followed in some contexts, especially the social sciences[5][6] and documents written by the World Health Organization (WHO).[4] However, in most other contexts, even in some areas of social sciences, the meaning of gender has undergone a usage shift to include "sex" or even to replace the latter word."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender

That's just 'gender' and 'sex'. The first responder proceeded to redefine 'female' and 'male':

   "Females as a noun is used to refer to lower animals, I believe you mean women."
No reputable dictionary or colloquial usage defines 'female' as a noun to refer to "lower animals."

> 2) You're free to have whatever ethical norms you want, but just like 'free speech,' that doesn't mean you're free from criticism. You can call anyone whatever you like, doesn't mean that I (and others) won't think you're a shitty person, _especially_ after having an explicit conversation about it.

Which one of us gets to tell the other how to behave on the basis of how we feel about it? I find it offensive how you use rhetoric to label those you disagree with as 'shitty' people; it doesn't leave any room for discourse.

I'm reminded of the Stephen Fry quote:

"It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."

Indeed, being offended provides no insight into understanding why you're offended, and without explaining why, there's no basis to make a rational evaluation of whether the behavior that offends you is actually ethically wrong.


1, I totally disagree 100% with the 'lower animals' statement, so you know. I think that's pretty ridiculous.

Let's put it this way: words change over time, and if the word changed in the 70s (that was before I was even alive), then it's changed, and the words we use _now_ matter _now_. Language is _never_ static.

2, You keep going back to that 'offense' bit, and referring to 'feelings.' I am not offended. That doesn't come into this at all, as I'm not a liberal. Please read my part about wage gaps, rape culture, and equal rights again.

> Indeed, being offended provides no insight into understanding why you're offended, and without explaining why, there's no basis to make a rational evaluation of whether the behavior that offends you is actually ethically wrong.

As I said before and above, there has been endless explanation of material harm caused by the cultural situation that women (and other minority groups) face today. If you don't know why, at this point, you're just being willfully ignorant.


> Let's put it this way: words change over time, and if the word changed in the 70s (that was before I was even alive), then it's changed, and the words we use _now_ matter _now_. Language is _never_ static.

I wholly agree. But the usage is not universal (by far), and the reworked definitions are used to hit people over the head.

I call a trans person by their preferred gender because it's the polite thing to do, and I try to be a polite and respectful person. However, bringing it up in this context to hit someone over the head for their word choices is not polite.

> As I said before and above, there has been endless explanation of material harm caused by the cultural situation that women (and other minority groups) face today. If you don't know why, at this point, you're just being willfully ignorant.

Which is why using logic-defying rhetorical anvils is just so counter-productively trite and trivial. It leaves me wondering whether these forms of divisive identity politics are really about the equality they claim to be trying to achieve.


Pretty much only creeps refer to women as females.


[citation needed]


Ask your mom or sister what they think.


Well, if someone writes/says "males and females" or "men and women" it sounds perfectly normal.

If someone writes/says "men and females" or "women and males" it sounds weird.


I texted my sister: "Who said that?? The word female is not as degrading as broad."


"female" -> "female human" -> "woman"

Was it really so unclear that you needed a whole scolding comment here?



I'm actually pretty angry about this. A much better plan would have been to offer free private repositories to any not-for-profit entity. Offering exclusively to women seems, to me, discriminatory.

Edit: Reading the article more closely, I'm not as bothered as as I was. Technically, Github granted unlimited private repositories to the Ada organization, who (I suppose) delegates their use to its members. It's not as though you can go to github.com and say, "I'm a woman, give me free private repositories."


well since Ada is paying the sponsorship, I guess they can distribute them however they like, yes?


The way I see it, ADA is not paying -- Github is donating. This is, actually, much less incendiary than the headline would lead us to believe...


you are angry? lol. how dare they make you angry? take a breathe, turn-off your computer and get out. come back when you grow up.


Or you know, use BitBucket that offers free private repositories for everyone and anyone.


I think you're missing the point.


I think github's missing the point. To encourage a group to do open source we provide them with private repositories?

I get how this group may feel hesitant to post something in the open source world, but so was I, and I'm a guy.

Here's an analogy that maybe fits: Consider you meet someone that's afraid of flying. Do you say "come with me, I'll show you its safe" or do you say "here's a bunch of train and bus passes"


Writing code in an open source environment can be extremely intimidating. There is an unfortunate element of elitism around writing code and this can be very off putting for many people. Being able to code, learn, and get criticism in the privacy of a private repository is a big step toward open sourcing your code


I'm pro-elitism. It seems to me that only the most dedicated and obsessed have even a small chance of ever doing decent work, and I'm all for dissuading everyone else from adding to the mountain of poorly understood and unreliable garbage holding back our profession. I don't think anyone knows how to give (inflict?) that obsession to any child who didn't already have it, but luring the timid into a field at this stage so lacking in rigor is a waste of the useful talents they could offer to other fields.


>come with me, I'll show you its safe

That's exactly what's happening. Plus they are paying for the tickets.


Since "the point" is a PR stunt for a "problem" that has at least one other solution, I don't blame him.


I think you're missing segiotapia's point.


IANAW, but this almost seems sexist in and of itself. Is Github shielding the delicate female programmers from the merciless wrath of internet trolls? I guess the assumption is that big strong male programmers don't need this kind of coddling.


HN often takes the collective position that businesses should be able to discriminate as they see fit, to do business with whom they see fit, and to set prices (e.g. other threads about "price gouging") as they see fit.

Perhaps Github is merely a business doing as they see fit?


There's a difference between HN believing that businesses should legally be allowed to do all of the above, and HN believing that it's socially / morally wrong to do any of the above.

(Note that this is merely a reply to your comment in a vacuum, and shouldn't be construed as me supporting either "side" in this thread.)


My statement isn't actually supporting either side of this thread either, just pointing out that their behaviour seems quite consistent with the things HN has vocally defended with all the zeal of a college freshman who has just discovered "Atlas Shrugged."


And again, there's the belief that someone should have the legal right to perform an action, regardless of whether or not that action is reprehensible.

Ex: You should have the legal right to believe that all green-skinned humans are inferior to blue-skinned humans. But that belief makes you a jerk and I will judge you for it.


"You must do what you think is right, of course"--Obi-Wan Kenobi

But we should confuse how you or I feel with the aggregate behaviour of HN in toto. My observation is that as a herd, HN approves of the legality, morality, and sanity of businesses, especially tech startups, making unconstrained choices that may appear "discriminatory" to others.


I'm not sure HN has ever agreed on anything enough to be described collectively as defending it. I suspect the members of the HN community that defended that viewpoint may be college freshman who just discovered "Atlas Shrugged". I don't see much ground to say, "People on HN sometimes say this, so isn't that the ethos now?"


Nope, just giving support to a demographic that they'd like to see growth in. It's what smart companies do.


You mean you would support them as much if they supported white males with blond hair ?


Annnnnnd we've gone full Godwin in less than an hour! Nice work, HN. Hit the showers.


I don't see what Finnish men have to do with Godwin.

Mennään saunat, miehet!


1. You could also say that Alphabetus law says that in any discussion the likelihood of using all letters of alphabet approaches 1. So what? Godwin's law doesn't say anything about validity or invalidity of mentioning Nazis or Hitler.

2. I meant neither Nazis nor Hitler. I merely pointed out that if they were giving free accounts to a group that is not (considered to be) discriminated then suddenly it wouldn't be so cool.

And just in case: there are many white males with blond hair around, I know quite a few personally and I've never suspected them to be Nazis. If you have any proof that some of them are give me a shout so that I can unfriend them!


showers? in context...really? :)


Gah, guess I can't edit from this app? Ok, I'll just own this one.


Whoops :/ Let me think of a better one.


And one more thing - I'm not against Ada Initiative or Github giving them free accounts. Good for them & cheers!

What I'm sayin is that justifications like this one:

"This reluctance has good reasons behind it: fear of being told they are bad programmers, fear of being publicly mocked or harassed, and even fear of losing job opportunities. All of these are greater risks for women on average than men."

are IMO simply not cool. You discriminate one group of people, favor another group and all that in the name of equality.


This reply is exactly why this initiative is needed. Can't you just say 'hey, more people contributing to open source!'


How is pushing code to a private repository 'contributing to open source'?


This makes it easier for people to clean up their code before letting the world see it. I wouldn't be surprised if it made some people more willing to contribute.


I expect that if a significant portion of work was done to an existing fork, or a significant bug found, it would be celebrated and immediately pushed back to the community. It would be exactly the same as if I downloaded Linux, made some awesome changes then sat on it and just shared it with my friends. A ridiculous thought.


They're learning together and need collaboration tools.


I doubt you would have felt the same way if Github had announced they were making free repositories available, but only to male developers...


Your statement doesn't make any sense given the context nor add to the argument.


How do you prove that you're a woman?

Also, does a transwoman count?


Ada accepts all those who identify as female. Any trans-gender or female-identifying person should feel safe applying here. (I'm not in anyway affiliated with Ada, just checked their website).


I can't believe the whining comments here so far. GitHub can contribute to any organization it wants to.


People are also free to criticize Github for any reason they want to.

Personally, I think the Ada Initiative is doing far more harm than good. They're pushing a strange brand of coddling and gender privilege.


It's fine you think that. I think that hundreds of girls don't really care about that initial help, will get some seriously good programming done, release some fantastic code and not read your comment at all except with a passing glance at someone who feels slighted for something that doesn't affect him at all.


> ... except with a passing glance at someone who feels slighted for something that doesn't affect him at all.

If the Ada Initiative didn't affect the rest of the industry at all, then they wouldn't be considered effective at their mission.

Whether or not you agree with the way they approach their mission is another question.


Is this a zero sum game? Are there only 1000 jobs ever in the world and men are worried for their positions?


True. At the same time if GitHub (or anyone else) dared contribute to an organization promoting, say, men's right's, you'd never hear the end of it.


If you're talking about many MRA groups, people would likely have a problem because they're considered hate groups by regarded organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Additionally, it's not like we have a dearth of men in programming. They seem to be doing just fine.


The fact that they partnered with the destructive and notorious Ada Initiative is disappointing. They are little more than concern-trolls, and they are doing far more to hinder equality than promote it.

GitHub is full of great people and poor choices like this are incongruent.

PS: This isn't male privilege speaking - The Ada Initiative is disliked (for very good reason) by feminists of both genders.


Do substantiate.


They have a history of drama-generation and concern-trolling related to conference organizers and speakers over things that have absolutely nothing to do with womens' rights, equality, or discrimination, which are then dressed up as feminism and used to censor and attack others (who are not participating in discrimination or furthering discriminatory ideas) based on the personal sex-negative agendas of those running the Ada Initiative.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/03/01/stigmatizin...


I fully support GitHub's right to do whatever they want, but I can't help but find this slightly distasteful. This is affirmative action, which I disagree with in principle.


FWIW, it seems like this will not give you private repos under your own Github Account, but just a private repo under the Github "organization" for the Ada Initiative.


Private repository for learning open source software. Makes perfect sense.


For those crying sexism, go take a look at the amount of women in the business, now THAT's what sexism looks like.


Go take a look at the amount of men in the business of midwifing, it's even worse.

Is there anything that prevent a men to work in this field ? I know a guy who did, so I can tell you: Nothing.

If we lack of women in CS it's mostly because women themselves thinks it's not attractive, just like they don't see trucker, or construction worker as attractive jobs. For the same reason teaching, widwifing, etc lack of mens.

IHMO: It's the culture that drive the inbalance in a given field, and the inbalance that create some macho mens, not the other way.


GitHub is not a company involved in the business of midwifing. They are a company involved in the business of software development.

Is it not possible that the cultural imbalance in all of these fields is due to sexism?


Nursing and other non-doctoral programs work hard to increase the numbers of men. It is never seen as reverse sexism in these cases.


I don't personally believe this discrimination exists on the scale that it is touted. I think it starts much earlier. As far back as college, women were more interested in Nursing, Acting, Business, English, Philosophy, etc., but rarely would I sit at the advisement panel and hear "Well, I really do like computers!" from a young woman.

That's not every woman, but a very big chunk that I witnessed.

Our school began participating with various groups to secure funds to help encourage women to come into the CS, MIS, or SE programs. I can count on my hands how many additional women joined. Nowhere near enough to call the effort a success. More women chose the classical major choices instead of the various computer fields, even if they didn't show a lowered cost of attendance. Why?

Through it all, I'd have to blame the culture. You don't fix the problem by throwing money at it. You fix it by showing that Penny is just as comfortable around computers as Sheldon is to Theoretical Physics. A field doesn't have to be stylish, and a playing with a computer doesn't have to make you a nerd.

I assure you there's no concerted force working to eschew women from the sciences. If the culture fits and is likened by its followers, I'm sure the numbers will grow to equal measure of the men. If you start from the root, you can fix many of the problems we see today.


You haven't demonstrated sexism, simply numbers. This is like saying child and youth workers (or any other female dominated roll) is sexist towards men.


Similar to how companies used to advertise job openings seeking a "girl Friday" for secretarial work. It sure was tough cracking the sexist, women-dominated secretary industry.


I get five free private repos for being a university student (for as long as I'm a student) - I don't see why we can't just extend something like this to people who are learning how to program / use github, and not just women/students


They could, but they're not. Obviously they have a reason to do so, are you aware of what that is and why they might choose that reason?


That's great, and maybe you have student groups too that will be supportive and in which you will develop a useful network of peers and mentors!


I'm really starting to wonder if The Ada Initiative is making more enemies than progress. Are they trying to promote equality, or female privilege?


I'm a paying github user, and I love github but I can't believe github allowed this. Firstly they are not helping open source if the code is private and secondly it should be for everyone. We hear a lot of people women nowadays complain about inequality and shit, if they are honest they should know this is utterly wrong and should do something to change it, else it's a bit hypocritical. no?


All in all, I think (well, hope) this is a Good Thing. To the extent that (some?) women face different (or more severe) problems in getting started in programming and contributing to F/OSS projects, if this helps ease that process, then it's a win for the world.

Now, I can understand some of the reactions, from both men and women. On the one hand, I can see why guys might say "isn't this just a different form of sexism?" and I can see how even some women might be offended (the same kind of women who freak out if a man holds a door open for them, probably). But despite all that, this has a chance to get more people involved in, and contributing to, the F/OSS world. For that, I think we can accept a small measure of "reverse sexism", given the context, and I think the radfem types can like it or leave it, while their female peers are busy writing code.

Yeah, it would be nice to live in a world which is more or less totally gender-blind, but we're not there yet and this move may at least help level the playing field a little bit.


To those saying, "Why is this necessary? This isn't fair!", Well, here's your answer: http://xkcd.com/385/ (XKCD nailed it, as usual.)


And here's my answer: Are you a girl?

We are on the internet, I can't see you, I have no idea who you are.


Why does that matter?

EDIT: Oh, do you mean that women should hide the fact that they are women online when contributing to OSS? I imagine many do.


I think what dwild is after is that online identities don't always have a gender attached to them, whether it be intentional or not.

If the gender is not apparent, then there's no real way to discriminate is there?

This especially goes for HN. I have no idea who is man and who isn't, as most use some sort of username/alias instead of their real name.


If the gender is not apparent, then there is no way to discriminate. I'm not sure what this has to do with the main article though. Many people like to connect their online accounts to their real identity (and thus gender), especially their GitHub accounts. Some don't. Is the suggestion that if women don't want to be discriminated against, they should hide their identities?


Yes, they do. Or use gender-neutral names or non-de-plumes.


Exactly. Show me the code. Doesn't matter if you're black, white, yellow, brown, male, female, genetically-engineered dolphin.

If the code's good and you can advocate for it - great.

If it sucks - it won't be used.


IANAL, but this appears to be a breach of the Equality Act 2010. Are they offering this in the UK?


If you'd like to get your local Scouts group to work on code within the safe measures of private repos, I'm sure you'd also find sponsors. It's not a breach of Equality when you aren't stopping other people from doing something. I'm sure Github would love sponsorship from all over the place.

A benefit of this is clever on Ada and Github's part: a lot of women don't participate in code sharing because of reasons that are discussed here enough. So women will get to find each other and work on code together and hey, the world gets software, and Github makes some happy new customers. I, for one, am signing up even though I barely have the time - I'm eager to meet other women coders in a working environment and I'd like to find a small way to pay back the massive debt I have to the open source community.


There is often a disjoint set of expectations between F/LOSS culture and women (besides occasional outright misogyny). Providing a system where women can be eased into the coding experience is, IMO, a very kind thing to do.

I visited a church recently and some college students spoke about why they chose that church. Uniformly, the kindness of the church community was a common thread through their comments. It's a human thing: we lean towards people who show kindness to us, especially in forms we can relate to. These bridging activities such as what Github and the Ada Initiative are doing provide a great deal of value in my opinion.


What you say makes a lot of sense. In another comment on this, I mentioned that the leaders of the open source world seem to be famously aggressive, prickly, and concerned only with the truth, not with feelings or being polite [1].

Changing the culture to something "kind", if that is what the community truly wants, will take more than a few donated repos. It will be interesting to see the impact it happens.

[1] One of many examples http://www.muktware.com/3703/linus-torvalds-nvidia-fuck-you


The commentary I've seen on the Equality Act states that, for example, situations where nightclubs offer free entry to women might fall foul of the Act.

This seems comparable.


How do female programmers differ from male programmers? I find this offensive. There are better ways to help promote programming among women. Equal salaries for starters could be a real equaliser.


Yes, I too am offended that an organization would dare donate anything to the Ada Initiative. Since we obviously live in a post-sexist egalitarian society, any sort of donation to one organization is clearly discriminatory against those not part of or benefitting from the organization!

</sarcasm>

I'm pretty damn sure GitHub can't affect the salaries of women that aren't direct employees of them. In what way does GitHub doing what it can do, which is donate to an organization like the Ada Initiative, cause offense?


On second thoughts, my comment was over the top. Doing something is better than nothing and github is doing something. So kudos to that.


Agreed with you about the donations. Tangentially, it would be cool if GitHub had more diversity in their software engineering staff - that is something they have control over.


A really good way to increase the diversity of your staff is to encourage education for minority groups.


Definitely. I'm excited they're doing this, and I think it is useful. :)

The comment about hiring was mostly an aside as something else I wish they were taking more active efforts with in addition to efforts like this one.


What are the data about salary balance between male and female programmers doing the same job / same team? I wonder if anyone has any research, data, or links.

(And please no one post that tired old $0.73 number that is averaged over all jobs, all roles, all hours-per-week!)


It is estimated that 9-12% of programmers are women. I don't have any figures on salaries but most of us don't get to be CEO unless you start your own business.


Makes sense.

One thing I'm curious to know is, of that 9-12%, for people hired at the same salary band or experience level[1], would there be differences between men's and women's salaries? And if so, what would they be? In such a case, the comparison would be meaningful.

[1] for example, comparing within salary bands or job titles: Associate SE, SE, Senior SE, Principal SE.


A quick google found this which probably means that women tend to rise into middle management quite easily - that's not unusual in most areas. I think the numbers look better than they are because there are not massively larger salaries for programmers as there are for attorneys etc.

http://www.gamespot.com/news/average-2012-us-dev-salary-8400...

Reading this makes me think: if women make more in the programming sector than any other field, why do we feel so downtrodden? To be honest, aside from a few experiences when I was young I've not experienced any misogyny from my peers, but I do almost daily from customers. I think I may be really happy because I'm with an amazing team who care about each other. I take the time to build my team's character and it pays off when I need the extra support.


I've been answering emails along with other Ada Initiative folks all afternoon!! A lot of women all over the world are very happy and excited to get to try things out on github. The Systers list was so helpful in distributing the link to a diverse worldwide group of women in the field and students just starting out. I think this will have a very positive result and bring many more women into fully contributing to F/LOSS.

Since so many times, people in open source projects wonder what they can do to help, and given the incredibly positive response I've seen so far today from women who've read the blog post and who say it is going to help them, I'm feeling hopeful -- and proud to be part of TAI's efforts to contribute.

I love supporting anyone's learning, especially in free/open tech and culture, and spend a lot of my time trying to do exactly that. Some of that time, I make sure to focus on supporting other women. Taking the time to support other women is often something that has to be a deliberate act, because it is all too easy to just pay more attention to men, who expect and to some degree demand it, so, I have tried for many years to make that an essential part of my life.

Cheers, HN.


REALLY? I'm a subscriber of a few lists for women in tech (Systers included), only one posted the link (followed by no comments). Systers tech talk posted nothing. Systers-dev and -foss, neither. Although, I'm probably subscribed to wrong groups... such as women working in tech (including learners), mostly programming. Not lists for people having problems with programming.


What about LGBTQ, what about transgendered? Does this only apply to cis-females?

So if this is a demographic Github wants to see an increase in, does this mean they don't care enough about others?


An advocacy group for other minorities in tech probably just got a great idea of something they can lobby for themselves, and are very thankful to the Ada Initiative for the idea.


Your concern trolling would be much more effective if you read the linked article.


1st class gender discrimination. In fact, this would be illegal in many European countries.


Why not just create a github account under a nickname ?


We do, and I think the right & ability to work under pseudonymity is very important. But at some point having a career means that people want to hook their identities together. A bunch of the CS students coming into this only have an inkling of the crap they are about to face in the field. Hopefully more of us will stick around to find out all the awesome stuff and will believe in the philosophy and idealism of F/LOSS's potential to make the world better.


Why?


From the article: "In working with women in open source, the Ada Initiative found that many women are reluctant to post their code publicly when they are first getting started in open source software. This reluctance has good reasons behind it: fear of being told they are bad programmers, fear of being publicly mocked or harassed, and even fear of losing job opportunities. All of these are greater risks for women on average than men. But the best way to get better at programming is to collaborate with and get review from other programmers, which is far easier to do with a shared repository like those provided by GitHub. Unfortunately, private repositories are too expensive for most women just getting started in open source software."


Unfortunately, private repositories are too expensive for most women just getting started in open source software.

If $7-12 / month (github's two lowest cost paid plans) is 'too expensive' for a person getting started in open source software, that person might want to rethink how interested and/or committed they actually are.

It's fine if Ada / github want to give female programmers a leg up to accomplish some social goal. But don't pretend it's due to some insurmountable financial cost.


I didn't write the article, but I agree with the premise. Women earn less, have children who come first. If you have small kids at home the best possible job is programming but you don't have a credit card or saving up for the winter power bill comes first.


Fair point. Although it would seem in that case like time or social connection are bigger barriers. I guess people and orgs will do what they can.


I can give private repos, too. Now put me on HN first page!




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