Ubuntu Open Week - Ubuntu Women Project - Elizabeth Krumbach - Wed, Apr 29th, 2009

(07:01:30 PM) pleia2: Hi everyone :)
(07:01:35 PM) pleia2: Welcome to the Ubuntu Open Week Session on the Ubuntu Women Project!
(07:01:50 PM) pleia2: My name is Elizabeth Krumbach. I currently work as a Debian and Ubuntu Systems Administrator for a Philadelphia-based Linux-centric technology services provider. I became involved in the Ubuntu Women project as soon as I found out about it in the spring of 2006.
(07:02:10 PM) pleia2: Aside from Ubuntu Women work, I'm currently heavily involved with the LoCo Teams projects, specifically with my own state of Pennsylvania and the greater work of the US Teams Mentoring program. I also work on the Ubuntu Classroom project, which has recently started working the the Ubuntu Community Learning Project. On the technical side within the community I contribute upstream as a Debian Package Maintainer.
(07:02:39 PM) pleia2: In this session I'm going to give a general introduction to the project, explain why we feel such a project is important, give you details about our project resources, provide tips on what people can do to combat disrespectful behavior within the community, and I'll wrap things up with a Q&A session.
(07:03:05 PM) txwikinger2 is now known as txwikinger
(07:03:06 PM) pleia2: I'll also pause to ask for questions from #ubuntu-classroom-chat at regular intervals, please prefix your questions with QUESTION: so they're easy for us to find :)
(07:03:26 PM) pleia2: To begin, the official website for the Ubuntu Women project is http://ubuntu-women.org. From there you can get to all our other resources, including our Mailing list, Forums, Launchpad and Wiki.
(07:03:54 PM) pleia2: The project was loosely founded on the forums and in IRC in the summer of 2005. It was extended by Vidya Ayer to mailing lists and a website, and became an official team in early 2006.
(07:04:38 PM) pleia2: Intitally it was modeled closely after the Debian Women (http://women.debian.org) project, but since their focus was primarily getting women to become Developers it quickly became apparent that the Ubuntu Women approach would have to have a much broader focus, encouraging women to be a part of every facet of Ubuntu.
(07:05:25 PM) pleia2: Before I get into the details of the project, I want to emphasise that we have a very serious committment to not being separatist or exclusive.
(07:05:47 PM) mode (-o nhandler ) by nhandler
(07:06:22 PM) pleia2: If you join our IRC channel, mailing list or forums you'll find both men and women involved in the project. We have no gender requirement placed upon our members, anyone who is interested in getting more women involved is welcome to join us.
(07:07:11 PM) pleia2: Now, while we do provide a separate place for discussion, the main goal of the project is to get more women involved with the general Ubuntu community. Separatism would defeat this goal.
(07:07:47 PM) pleia2: Ultimately the "#1 Bug" in the Ubuntu Women Project is the need for the project to exist at all! We would like to be able to dissolve the project in the future when more women are comfortable getting involved.
(07:08:15 PM) pleia2: Now for the specifics. The project has grown to primarily focus upon:
(07:08:20 PM) pleia2: 1. Support and Encouragement
(07:08:44 PM) Stustoph: .
(07:08:54 PM) pleia2: This is probably the most vital function of the project today. As much as we wish it wasn't the case, there is still sexism within the Ubuntu community. Sometimes it's the quite mild addressing of a group of Ubuntu people as "gentlemen" and sometimes it's brutal public "jokes" targeted at women that men and women alike may find offensive.
(07:09:36 PM) pleia2: Whatever the situation, it's helpful to have a place to discuss things and ask questions. Do the actions <here> bother anyone else? Is this <unfortunate event> worth reporting to the project leadership? Should I approach <person> about their actions that made me uncomfortable? Talking things out with folks who can sympathize and share your experiences goes a long way to keeping people involved with a project when events occur that are troubling
(07:09:56 PM) ^arky^ left the room (quit: Remote closed the connection).
(07:10:13 PM) pleia2: The Ubuntu Women outlets (IRC, mailing lists, forums) are also a great place to discuss current events relating to Women within general F/OSS, sharing success stories from other projects and using those examples to work toward improving the community for everyone.
(07:10:31 PM) pleia2: 2. Mentoring and Direction
(07:11:14 PM) pleia2: Due to the low percentage of women involved in F/OSS in general, Ubuntu is often the first project they get involved with. The first question that we get on the mailing list or on IRC from women new to the project is generally "How can I help Ubuntu?" which we answer and attempt to match them up with projects and contacts (possibly mentors) within the projects to get them going.
(07:11:44 PM) pleia2: Don't men encounter this too? Absolutely, and we certainly wouldn't turn away a man asking the same question, but we've chosen to make our focus getting more women involved and offering level-entry support is part of that.
(07:12:20 PM) pleia2: Two of the resources we most frequently point to are: http://www.ubuntu.com/community/participate and https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ContributeToUbuntu both of which are linked on our Get Involved page: http://ubuntu-women.org/getinv.html
(07:12:37 PM) pleia2: 3. Highlight active women within the community
(07:13:14 PM) pleia2: Most people who are heavily involved with F/OSS have a number of people they look up to. For a lot of people it's helpful to have someone they can relate to, perhaps of their own gender. I know in my case joining LinuxChix and finally getting to see women in prominent places within the community not only helped me strive to follow in their footsteps, it made me feel less alone as a woman involved in the projects.
(07:13:52 PM) pleia2: To highlight women in the community we have recently launched an Interview series ( http://wiki.ubuntu-women.org/Interviews ) which has been appearing in Full Circle Magazine ( http://fullcirclemagazine.org/ )
(07:14:21 PM) pleia2: We also have a profiles page on our wiki showing who some other women involved are, where they are located and what they are involved with: http://wiki.ubuntu-women.org/Profiles
(07:14:50 PM) pleia2: In addition, we work to post news on the mailing list when women within the community make the news, are involved in exciting projects or any other inspiring stories.
(07:15:06 PM) pleia2: One more point and I'll get to the questions raised already before moving on :)
(07:15:12 PM) pleia2: 4. Education on Sexism and Feminism
(07:15:47 PM) pleia2: Perhaps unintentional, our project has become a popular place for discussions of general feminism (equality) and sexism. We frequently have men and women joining our channel to learn about the issues, so much so that we've created a wiki page full of links relating to the issues: http://wiki.ubuntu-women.org/ChallengingSexism
(07:16:22 PM) pleia2: This has turned out to be a valuable job of our project. Most people aren't intentionally sexist and a lot of the people who join our forums, mailing list or IRC channel with questions about why the project exist genuinely wish to understand why so many successful women within the Ubuntu project choose to spend time on Ubuntu Women.
(07:16:41 PM) pleia2: A lot of folks joining also want to know what they can do to help, which I'll get to momentarily.
(07:17:12 PM) pleia2: Ok, I'm going to move on to why we believe the project is important and ways that you can help attract more women to your project(s), but first - questions?
(07:17:22 PM) maco: ok just a sec...
(07:17:28 PM) maco: <pwnguin> QUESTION: how do you measure when more women are comfortable getting involved?
(07:18:24 PM) pleia2: Good question. We don't have a statistic or quantitative goal at this point because be ratio is still so poor.
(07:18:40 PM) jhass840: maco: I think the questions are being asked in #ubuntu-classroom-chat
(07:18:48 PM) maco: jhass840: i'm the paster
(07:18:53 PM) maco: <elk80> QUESTION: What is the ratio of social to technical discussion as a whole? And is the social aspect of it welcome? :)
(07:19:02 PM) pleia2: I think even hitting a goal of 10% involvement would be huge - already I'm seeing as more women become involved, more join
(07:19:34 PM) pleia2: elk80: the FLOSSPOL report is frequently referenced to answer this question: http://www.flosspols.org/deliverables/FLOSSPOLS-D16-Gender_Integrated_Report_of_Findings.pdf
(07:19:46 PM) pleia2: it indicates that about 1.5% of FLOSS community members were female, compared with 28% in proprietary software
(07:20:00 PM) pleia2: oh, I misread
(07:20:01 PM) pleia2: hehe
(07:20:03 PM) maco: (sorry, i jumped the gun on that question)
(07:20:47 PM) pleia2: sorry! right, perhaps clarify the question, do we mean technical vs social within the project?
(07:21:02 PM) elk80: You mentioned dissolving the project when deemed complete..
(07:21:18 PM) elk80: If/when that should occur, will the project or some deriv. continue as a social hub?
(07:21:40 PM) pleia2: gotcha, I think it might, but perhaps not as an official Ubuntu project any longer
(07:21:49 PM) ***elk80 nods :)
(07:22:15 PM) maco: pleia2: ready for the next one?
(07:22:20 PM) pleia2: maco: fire away! :)
(07:22:26 PM) maco: <LaserJock> QUESTION: so would you consider Ubuntu Women more marketing to women, advocating on behalf of women to Ubuntu, or refereeing to make sure there is a level playing field?
(07:22:55 PM) LaserJock: or all-of-the-above ;-)
(07:23:05 PM) pleia2: good question!
(07:23:45 PM) pleia2: I think ultimately it's all about Ubuntu itself, we want as many contributors as possible and for us that means tapping into that 50% of the population that often feels left out of FOSS
(07:24:03 PM) hypa7ia: we can't solve bug #1 without women, after all :)
(07:24:09 PM) pleia2: we also do some refereeing, there are women who come to us when they have problems and we'll step up and help out
(07:24:50 PM) pleia2: next?
(07:25:19 PM) lamalex: that's not what structural means
(07:25:20 PM) maco: h/o
(07:25:25 PM) maco: <txwikinger> Question: Aren't the same issues exist also for visible minorities? Also, how much does the anonymity through screen names make a difference?
(07:25:31 PM) maco: lamalex: wrong chan
(07:26:01 PM) lamalex: maco: my scroll key keeps messing up, i didnt even realize i posted that
(07:26:04 PM) lamalex: sorry!
(07:26:36 PM) pleia2: I believe there may be problems for other minorities, but I'm not familiar with them, since I'm familiar with the problems facing women I work on this project :)
(07:27:21 PM) maco: next?
(07:27:25 PM) pleia2: anonymity through a screen name certainly helps some people (there are women I encounter in the community who still won't say in public that they are female)
(07:27:40 PM) pleia2: but I don't know really, I've always been very open about my gender
(07:27:42 PM) pleia2: next!
(07:27:57 PM) maco: <LaserJock> QUESTION: can you give an estimate on how many "incidents" there are in Ubuntu?
(07:28:38 PM) pleia2: Not really, it depends on a lot of factors - how public the incident is, whether it was reported to anyone or just made someone walk away immediately
(07:28:59 PM) pleia2: I will say that things have improved over the past couple years, and Ubuntu is, in general, a really fantastic project to work on when compared to some others
(07:29:40 PM) pleia2: next?
(07:29:59 PM) maco: that's it
(07:30:52 PM) pleia2: ah yes, I was just reminded of something recently
(07:31:17 PM) maco: oh hold on
(07:31:18 PM) maco: one more
(07:31:27 PM) pleia2: on the day we were all working to improve the LoCo docs, we came across one that aside from calling every potential person you'd try to get to try Ubuntu "him"
(07:31:36 PM) pleia2: there was a suggestion of using "booth babes"
(07:31:54 PM) pleia2: this was on the Ubuntu wiki, included in guidelines for conferences
(07:32:16 PM) pleia2: hooray for wikis, we were able to clean this all up :) but it felt quite unfortunate that someone had thought through enough to actually put it up there in the first place
(07:32:29 PM) pleia2: ok, questions
(07:32:53 PM) maco: don't forget what else it said
(07:32:57 PM) pleia2: oh right
(07:33:16 PM) pleia2: it also said that if a woman comes to your booth "dont talk about tech. talk about nelson mandela and sharing"
(07:33:32 PM) maco: ok questions... lemme grab
(07:33:45 PM) maco: <sebsebseb> QUESTION:   Maybe to help with market share for non technical people, if the  circle of friends was used more for example,  it  would attract more females to Ubuntu?
(07:34:48 PM) pleia2: I think more use such a thing would attact more PEOPLE in general, not specifically women, there is still a huge theory out there that you have to be a "programmer" to contribute anything
(07:35:06 PM) pleia2: next?
(07:35:14 PM) ***JManGt is away: Vengo al ratin...
(07:35:18 PM) maco: <txwikinger> QUESTION: Are women detered in participating in FLOSS mainly due to discrimination or are there other "hidden" structures to blame that give women less incentives to join?
(07:36:26 PM) pleia2: There is a lot of research on why that low 28% in proprietary software exists that links it to social things, girls not being encouraged in tech things as much as boys, so females learning about the awesomeness of tech stuff later
(07:36:40 PM) pleia2: so you have a smaller pool starting out, often (this isn't true of the entire world, luckily)
(07:37:06 PM) pleia2: so you start with a smaller pool, and then they join and run into discrimination
(07:37:45 PM) pleia2: I don't know really how many just walk away at this point, but I do know several women who have changed careers entirely and dropped foss involvement because of discrimination
(07:37:50 PM) pleia2: next?
(07:37:56 PM) maco: <jhass840> QUESTION: Do you think that anonymity through screen names can also serve as a detriment to the project?
(07:38:30 PM) hypa7ia: that one i can answer with a link
(07:38:32 PM) hypa7ia: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/
(07:38:45 PM) pleia2: yes :( but I sympathize with their reasons, not everyone wants to "help the cause" - some people would like to spend all their time getting work done
(07:39:02 PM) pleia2: "work done" that is not encouraging other women, I mean
(07:39:12 PM) pleia2: specifically project work
(07:39:27 PM) pleia2: next?
(07:39:31 PM) maco: <nixternal> QUESTION: you know something...I have been in this goofy free software world now since about 1993/1994...and it wasn't until Ubuntu that I really saw a problem and witnessed on more than one occasion an issue, do you think that is because Ubuntu has become so huge that we are seeing the issues and that there is a need for the Ubuntu Women team?
(07:40:04 PM) pleia2: interesting
(07:40:27 PM) pleia2: I've encountered bad behavior from the first weeks I stepped into the Linux world back in 2002
(07:40:39 PM) pleia2: by 2003 I was working to create a local LinuxChix chapter in Philadelphia
(07:41:18 PM) pleia2: so maybe it's a matter of perspective, to me LinuxChix has always been vital because things have always been tough
(07:41:39 PM) pleia2: I got involved Ubuntu Women once I was already pretty secure :)
(07:42:05 PM) pleia2: and Debian Women existed prior, perhaps because of projects like Ubuntu getting such attention more people care about broadening involvement?
(07:42:15 PM) pleia2: next?
(07:42:16 PM) maco: <dtchen> QUESTION: has the community manager been appraised of UDS participation for active contributors in #ubuntu-women?
(07:42:53 PM) pleia2: I'm not sure, I don't think so
(07:43:47 PM) pleia2: I think we want to pause the questions for a few moments so I can finish up my script :)
(07:43:55 PM) pleia2: we'll get to as many as we can after
(07:44:26 PM) pleia2: So why do we feel this project is important? We've covered this some already.
(07:44:47 PM) pleia2: Simply put, those of us who are involved with Ubuntu Women believe that everyone can be a valuable resource for the Ubuntu project and we should work to be inclusive and encouraging. We've chosen to focus upon becoming well-versed in the issues currently facing women specifically in the community so we can shape our program to cater to them.
(07:45:09 PM) pleia2: We understand that not everyone shares in these viewpoints, methods or goals, which is really a great thing about F/OSS - you don't have to. And if you're sincerely interested in getting involved we're always open to constructive discussion.
(07:45:44 PM) pleia2: (as an aside, let us know you're there to be helpful, we get a lot of trolls and while we work hard not to brush people off, if people join #ubuntu-women looking like they're trying to start a fight, we'll act accordingly)
(07:46:02 PM) hypa7ia: or trying to hit on people!
(07:46:15 PM) maco: or rant about their wives
(07:46:30 PM) Bodsda: s/wives/girlfriends
(07:46:41 PM) pleia2: So, you want to help Ubuntu be more friendly to women? The easy answer is to strive to make it more friendly to everyone! But there are a couple of specific resources to review if you'd like to focus on women:
(07:47:03 PM) pleia2: HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux: http://valerieaurora.org/howto.html which is the canonical resource we point to for people who want a glimpse into the key things they can do (and avoid!) when working to get women involved with Linux
(07:47:15 PM) pleia2: Dorothea Salo: What Some Folks Can Do, If They Choose: http://cavlec.yarinareth.net/archives/2007/03/30/what-some-folks-can-do-if-they-choose/ which discusses how men can stand up when they see sexist or other inappropriate behavior that drives people away
(07:47:37 PM) pleia2: and I had the one from gregknicholson which I read earlier in the day: http://brown-betty.livejournal.com/305643.html
(07:48:06 PM) pleia2: That's all I've got :) We can get back to questions.
(07:48:18 PM) maco: <sebsebseb> QUESTION:  I don't think theres an issue with guys getting other guys into opensource/freesoftware, but how to get  females to encoruge other females to do so?
(07:48:55 PM) pleia2: for me, the most valuable thing for getting other females involved is to show them that I'm doing it
(07:49:26 PM) pleia2: that goes much further than you'd think :)
(07:49:38 PM) sebsebseb: pleia2: or if a guy like me,  maybe  show them that other women do it?
(07:49:45 PM) pleia2: sebsebseb: sure!
(07:50:25 PM) maco: sebsebseb: did you see mdz and james_w's posts on Planet Ubuntu for Ada Lovelace Day, showing their female-tech heroines? There's an example
(07:50:26 PM) pleia2: I recently had a fellow join our LoCo channel who said he had a lot of success in getting women he knew interested after showing them stuff about Ubuntu Women and LinuxChix, it made me smile :)
(07:50:37 PM) pleia2: next?
(07:50:44 PM) sebsebseb: maco: nope don't know what your talking about, got a link?
(07:51:29 PM) maco: http://jameswestby.net/weblog/tech/09-lady-day.html and http://mdzlog.alcor.net/2009/03/25/ada-lovelace-day/
(07:51:37 PM) pleia2: thanks maco :)
(07:51:40 PM) sebsebseb: maco: ok thanks  I'll have a look
(07:51:40 PM) maco: it's about showing role models, and that's something you can do
(07:51:48 PM) sebsebseb: yep
(07:51:56 PM) maco: ready for the next one?
(07:51:59 PM) pleia2: yep
(07:52:03 PM) hypa7ia: there's recent research showing too that role models are even more important for women than men
(07:52:07 PM) hypa7ia: just sayin'
(07:52:08 PM) hypa7ia: :)
(07:52:11 PM) maco: <pwnguin> QUESTION: is it effective to market Ubuntu to young women with the color pink, or potentially offensive?
(07:52:25 PM) pleia2: only if they like pink :)
(07:52:40 PM) ***pleia2 knows loads of young women who can't stand it
(07:52:47 PM) hypa7ia: it is potentially problematic
(07:52:54 PM) pleia2: I think the color is far less important than how it's presented in general
(07:52:56 PM) hypa7ia: stereotyping and all
(07:52:57 PM) hypa7ia: yeah
(07:52:59 PM) hypa7ia: ^^
(07:53:11 PM) maco: along that line...
(07:53:12 PM) maco: <elk80> QUESTION: A previous question referenced pink (and multi-color!) Netbooks.. Have you seen any women in FOSS growth that can be sourced to the whole Linux Netbook phenomena? Maybe due to widespread visibility and less techie styled notebooks?
(07:53:59 PM) pleia2: I know at least two of my non-techie friends are in the market for an Ubuntu mini9 because I carry my pink one with unicorn stickers around everywhere :)
(07:54:12 PM) pleia2: and no, they aren't going with pink, but they were pleased that they could come in different colors
(07:55:00 PM) pleia2: next?
(07:55:01 PM) maco: <dtchen> QUESTION: what sort of mentoring successes have been highlighted, and how can this outreach be extended to middle schoolers and high schoolers?
(07:55:38 PM) pleia2: one of my favorite new websites I read about in an ACM article a couple months back (the issue was focused on women in tech) is this: http://girlsgotech.org/
(07:56:11 PM) pleia2: there are a few different projects like that out there, unfortunately I'm not the best one to answer it since I'm not very involved in this area
(07:56:39 PM) pleia2: next?
(07:56:50 PM) maco: <LaserJock> QUESTION: sometimes being nice or catering to a woman is seen as being offensive. How can us guys be encouraging without being *too* nice?
(07:57:18 PM) pleia2: good question, it's a delicate balance
(07:58:12 PM) pleia2: and it's not easy to strike, but I think the best approach is to carefully make her feel included (standing alone at a LUG because people are scared of you is no fun either)
(07:58:28 PM) pleia2: but don't stare at her and address every question and comment her way
(07:58:48 PM) pleia2: there are also some tips in the Encourage Women how-to
(07:58:56 PM) pleia2: one more question and then we have to wrap things up
(07:58:59 PM) maco: <Baby> QUESTION: There are quite few of us in FOSS projects in general, and we often have lots of battles to fight. Of course battles have to be chosen carefully but even then, some burnout cannot be avoided. What can be done to prevent the burnout of the most visible women in FOSS projects?
(07:59:39 PM) pleia2: very good point, my strategy has been taking breaks
(08:00:01 PM) pleia2: whether it be from the core project, or just from the -women stuff
(08:00:18 PM) pleia2: and preferably *before* you start considering becoming an accountant :)
(08:00:44 PM) maco: <pwnguin> QUESTION: where can i find women to volunteer to speak at LUG and LoCo events?
(08:01:01 PM) pleia2: first stop is http://www.geekspeakr.com/
(08:01:48 PM) pleia2: if you can't find someone there, look around your community - is there a woman who infrequently posts but always has interesting things to say? Invite her to speak
(08:02:09 PM) pleia2: That's all we have time for :) if anyone wants to continue discussion we can pop over to #ubuntu-women
(08:02:27 PM) hypa7ia: and encourage the women you know to post profiles to geekspeakr!
(08:02:28 PM) hypa7ia: :D
(08:02:34 PM) pleia2: thanks for coming and being such an awesome audience :D

MeetingLogs/openweekJaunty/UbuntuWomen (last edited 2009-04-30 00:04:29 by pool-70-16-48-183)