Ubuntu Open Week - Ubuntu Women - Elizabeth Bevilacqua - Sat, Oct 27, 2007

16:10 -!- popey changed the topic of #ubuntu-classroom to: Ubuntu Open Week info: Information and Logs: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuOpenWeek | Ubuntu classroom transcripts: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ClassroomTranscripts | Please ask questions in #ubuntu-classroom-chat not here | Current session:  Ubuntu Women - Elizabeth Bevilacqua
16:10 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [-o popey] by popey
16:10 < pleia2> Welcome to the Ubuntu Open Week Session on the Ubuntu Women Project!
16:10 < pleia2> I am Elizabeth Bevilacqua. I currently work as a Debian (and now some Kubuntu!) SysAdmin for a small Linux firm outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States.
16:11 < 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. On the technical side I contribute upstream as a Debian Package Maintainer.
16:11 < pleia2> In this session I'm going to start out by discussioning some of the frequently asked questions about the Ubuntu Women project and then will open the floor for your questions.
16:11 < pleia2> First of all, 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.
16:12 < pleia2> I became involved in the Ubuntu Women project as soon as I found out about it in early 2006. Vidya Ayer is the founder of the project, spurred on by some unfortunate experiences within the LoCo team she was involved with.
16:12 < pleia2> Vidya modeled the project closely after the Debian Women (http://women.debian.org) project, which many have said was quite a sucessful project, with the Debian Project now boasting several female Developers, not the mention the work of Debian Women in writing guides, developing mentoring partnerships and changing how women are treated within the project.
16:13 < pleia2> Unlike the Debian Women project, however, the Ubuntu project does not only seek out women to contribute via development. Instead our focus is on the broader Ubuntu project, seeking to get women involved everywhere and to eventually become members and key contributors to the project.
16:13 < pleia2> The first question I tend to get when discussing the project is "Why?" To answer this simply, there aren't a lot of women using and involved with Linux projects, and we feel strongly that more would be valuable to the project.
16:14 < pleia2> As such, our project seeks to give an entry point for women looking to join the Ubuntu project.
16:14 < pleia2> We provide this entry point by showing women that other women are already here (it can be intimidating to be the only woman in the room, or feel like it!), provide resources to help women get involved, and to link up women directly with the project contacts and mentors they need to successfully enter the project.
16:15 < pleia2> The project is simply used as a springboard to get women out there in the main project, and provides a support infrastructure if problems are encountered with their involvement. So we're not trying to be a separate entity in the project, in fact...
16:15 < pleia2> Just recently the project began to form a partnership with the Classroom project (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Classroom) which will enable us to leave behind our separate Courses program and encourage women to contribute and lead classes and promote the classes through our various outlets.
16:16 < pleia2> At this point you may be asking why there aren't projects for other IT minorities. There are! The Ubuntu for All project (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuForAll) is the umbrella group under which other groups interested in equality and opportunity for minorities exist.
16:16 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [-v imbrandon] by ChanServ
16:17 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+v pleia2] by ChanServ
16:17 <+pleia2> If you feel there is a need to address a currently unaddressed minority group, please feel free to stand up and take a leadership position in making this happen.
16:17 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [-o Mez] by ChanServ
16:17 <+pleia2> In addition to lowering the barriers of entry for women in the project, our list provides a forum to discuss issues facing women with Ubuntu and the wider Free and Open Source Software world.
16:18 <+pleia2> Sometimes heated, these discussions bring out the opinions of a variety of men and women with various backgrounds and help us address the appropriate issues with as much feedback as possible.
16:19 <+pleia2> Another question folks often have is how they can help out with the project, or with having women feel more comfortable and accepted within F/OSS itself. Our wiki page on ChallengingSexism is a nice place to start: http://wiki.ubuntu-women.org/ChallengingSexism
16:20 <+pleia2> A couple of the best articles are:
16:20 <+pleia2> HowTo Encourage Women in Linux: http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-HOWTO/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO.html which might be of particular interest to LoCo teams since there are a lot of real life examples
16:20 <+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 (not just women!)
16:21 <+pleia2> I'm looking forward to a day when this project is not required, and with your help we can accomplish this!
16:21 <+pleia2> Now I want to go ahead and open the floor for questions.
16:21 < Vorian> <Sodki> QUESTION: what do you feel is the main factor behind the gender discrepancy in IT today?
16:22 <+pleia2> Sodki: It's hard to pinpoint a main factor, but in many countries there is a history of steering women toward "softer" skills, I know first hand in the US that some women are actually /discouraged/ from following technical careers
16:23 < Vorian> popey> QUESTION: How do you feel about the assertion that ubuntu women may well represent the views and opinion of geek women but not that of the average non-geek woman. This pre-supposes that there is a difference between those two categories (which I personally believe there is)?
16:23 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+o Vorian] by ChanServ
16:23 <+pleia2> popey: we try to offer a balanced view within Ubuntu Women, but we really need folks to speak up so they will be heard
16:24 <+pleia2> I've actually gotten feedback telling me the opposite
16:24 < popey> may iclarify?
16:24 <+pleia2> please do
16:24 < popey> as a man it is difficult to make comments about ubuntu women (IMO)
16:25 < popey> we are often seen as cleary unable to see the point from a womans side
16:25 <+pleia2> gotcha
16:25 < popey> however I know of men who show women (in their life) who are non geeks - the stuff that ubuntu women, debian women (and other groups and individuals) put forward
16:25 < popey> and generally the non-geek women (that I have spoken to) would say that those opinions dont match theirs
16:26 < popey> and that they dont feel represented
16:26 < popey> is that fair?
16:26 <+pleia2> well I want to encourage anyone who has an opinion about the direction of the project to speak up and let us know
16:26 < svaksha> It is
16:27 < svaksha> In India, we are not discouraged, at least i was not, to take up technical fields
16:27 < Hobbsee> i think it'd be very hard to have a set of views that *all* women think.
16:27 <+pleia2> the direction we're going in is based on the feedback we received from each other, and if the non-geek women won't speak up, we don't know how they feel :(
16:27 < popey> no, I'm not saying you need to represent all women
16:27 < Hobbsee> unless it's an incredibly broad, sweeping statement.
16:27 < popey> but that there is a distinct polarity between geek and non-geek women
16:27 < popey> but the group is called "ubuntu women" not "ubuntu geek women"
16:28 <+pleia2> the trouble is that currently the husbands and boyfriends of "non-geek women" are the only ones speaking up
16:28 <+pleia2> it's difficult to have a discussion through a proxy
16:28 < jedijf> i don't find there to be a difference when i poll my non-geek wife's opinions for reference in these matters
16:28 < AidyFS> agree with popey, is your aim to have more women using ubuntu, or more women contributing to the ubuntu project?
16:29 < svaksha> the latter
16:29 <+pleia2> of course, so I want to invite women of all perspectives to speak up and let us know what they want from the project
16:29 <+pleia2> as a geek woman, I really can't speak for them
16:29 < AidyFS> The two are quite different fields
16:30 < svaksha> AidyFS, the latter is the main goal
16:30 <@Vorian> Cillian> QUESTION: Is it not possible that by creating a project for only women you might be aiding the separation of them from the bulk of the community?
16:31 <+pleia2> Cillian: That's something we get often. I don't believe this is the case since we don't really have any technical projects within the Ubuntu Women project. Our work is to draw women into Ubuntu, make them feel welcome and give them the tools they need
16:31 <+pleia2> from there they go out into the wider community and contribute
16:31 < svaksha> Cillian, its not restricted to women, rather men have been a part of UW since its inception 2 years ago.
16:32  * svaksha is Vidya Ayer, sorry should have introduced myself
16:32 <@Vorian> <desertc> QUESTION: So how is the project going?  Is the mentoring progressing as you expected?  Are you finding that people are interested in participating?  What have some of the highlights for you been?
16:32 < svaksha> our first server admin was a man
16:32 < Cillian> So ubuntu-women is more of a woman friendly zone than a woman only zone?
16:32 < svaksha> and even today we have a man as the list admin
16:32 <+pleia2> Cillian: yes
16:32 < svaksha> yep
16:33 <+pleia2> desertc: it's chugging along, currently our big project is working with the Ubuntu Classroom project
16:33 <+pleia2> we used to have a Courses program, but it became increasingly obvious to us that it was a wasted effort and wasn't successful - we want to make contributions to the main project and take advantage of the courses/classes in the main proejct
16:34 < svaksha> desertc, getting mentors to hold regular courses has been a tough task, but we are not giving up :)
16:34 <+pleia2> and people are very much still interested in participating!
16:34 < svaksha> yes, they are
16:34 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+m] by Vorian
16:35 <+pleia2> I am not going to claim that some of the bigger women within the Ubuntu project are in their positions because of our work
16:35 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+o Hobbsee] by ChanServ
16:35 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+z] by Hobbsee
16:36 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+v pleia2] by Hobbsee
16:36 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+v svaksha] by Hobbsee
16:36 <+pleia2> but I have started bumping into more women since the project lauched, and some have said that it was helpful to see the UW project existing
16:36 <@Hobbsee> pleia2: you'll need to repeat, i think
16:36 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+v Vorian] by Hobbsee
16:36 <@Hobbsee> oh, no, that looks right
16:36 <+pleia2> yeah I think I'm good
16:37 <@Vorian> <cjb_ie> QUESTION: is it just non-geek women that feel excluded? what about non-geek men?
16:37 <+pleia2> cjb_ie: I haven't really heard much from non-geek men TBH
16:37 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+v pleia2] by Hobbsee
16:39 <@Vorian> <desertc> Q: Have there been some landmark moments for you?
16:39 <@Vorian> more
16:39 <@Vorian> desertc> QUESTION: Have there been some landmark events for you, in the project, where you felt the effort was especially effective?
16:40 <+pleia2> desertc: I think seeing the increase in women we've worked with become Members is really exciting
16:40 <+pleia2> Ubuntu Members that is
16:40 <+pleia2> in my LoCo team there are 3 Ubuntu Members, 2 of us are women :)
16:41 <+pleia2> it's encouraging to me and the rest of the team
16:42 <@Vorian> <vorian>QUESTION: What kind of relationship would you like to see between LoCo teams and Ubuntu Women?
16:43 <+pleia2> Vorian: Good question! I'd really like to see a closer relationship
16:43 <+pleia2> there has been discussion in the past of Ubuntu Women having localized chapters, but LoCo teams are really where we need to be getting involved in keeping with the aims of the project
16:43 <+pleia2> unfortunately much of the trouble encountered by women in Ubuntu is via the LoCo teams
16:44 <+pleia2> I'm wondering if it would be useful for us to write up some sort of document to help out LoCo teams, to get them to attract more women, something modeled after the HowTo Encourage Women in Linux that focuses on LUGS
16:45  * svaksha nods
16:46 <+pleia2> any more questions?
16:47 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [-m] by Vorian
16:47 <+pleia2> ok, we're going to unmod the channel for some open discussion
16:47 <@Vorian> <jedijf> Q:moving forward what can we all do to attract women (geeky and non) to the community?
16:48 <+pleia2> good question
16:48 <+pleia2> first it helps to be mindful of the existance of women in the project so there is a welcome space to invite them to
16:49 <+pleia2> I know in my loco team it's very open to women participating, and that's very exciting
16:49 <+pleia2> from there just attract them like any other person to Ubuntu, find out from women you know what their interests are and tailor your presentation of Ubuntu to fit that
16:51 <@Vorian> the channel is open for discussion for the remainder of the scheduled time.
16:51 < Cillian> Any ideas of particular things an individual can do to help?
16:51 < jedijf> ty for the answer
16:51 <+pleia2> Cillian: http://cavlec.yarinareth.net/archives/2007/03/30/what-some-folks-can-do-if-they-choose/  <-- this link is great for that
16:52 < Cillian> Thanks
16:52 <+pleia2> mostly what we need are people speaking up when the see something that is inappropriate
16:52 <+pleia2> this isn't just about attracting women, Linux has a reputation for being a boys club with locker room humor, it drives off a lot of folks
16:52 < desertc> As I mentioned in -chat, I was impressed with mailing list posts such as this one from a female Chinese developer who chose to help Ubuntu because of her interaction with your chatroom:
16:52 < desertc> https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-women/2007-October/001183.html
16:53 <+pleia2> desertc: thanks! in situations like hers we work to pinpoint her skills, what she wants to do, and try to link her up with the proper resources
16:53 < desertc> I think there is a good deal to be said for "birds of a feather" groups, to encourage people to participate because they feel comfortable with the people around them.
16:53 <+pleia2> desertc: there are a lot of detractors, but the women groups really have helped me, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be as involved with Ubuntu without it
16:55 < Cillian> I've noticed a lot of people seem to regard IRC as a large part of the community, but I'd like to note it's not just rough for women - I think you need to be generally thick skinned when on IRC, it's often a tough crowd to get on with
16:55 < jedijf> honestly the reminders about appropriateness help me, as i tend to fall back into locker-room made rather easily - despite best intentions - sad to say
16:55 <+svaksha> desertc, support and guidance (minus sarcasm and locker room humor) in the technical aspects goes a long way in the learning process
16:55 <+pleia2> Cillian: I agree, I'd really like to see this change, the ops do a great job but IRC as a medium has a tendancy to just be abrasive and things can get out of hand quickly
16:56 < Cillian> pleia2: I recall a comic strip - Completely normal person + anomymity + audience = complete jerk
16:56 < desertc> I have been considering lately all the different ways people can get involved with the Free Software / Ubuntu communities.  Most of the ways is not specific to programming.  It's great to have an organization spreading that message to people who might not otherwise be interested.
16:57 < Cillian> desertc: I would argue the community has proportionally too many programmers compared to translaters, UI people, graphic designers, etc.
16:57 <+pleia2> Cillian: if anomymity was our only problem I'd be happy, there have been incidents where very well known folks in the project have made inappropriate remarks, it's a culture that we'd like to see changed to attract a variety of folks
16:58 < desertc> This is everyone's perception of "Linux participation", that you have to be a kernel hacker.  It's a misperception.
16:58 <+svaksha> Cillian, UW does not discriminate along those lines, a designer is as important as a programmer
16:58 < TheSheep> Cillian: I can't imagine stepping into a project as a 'ui human'
16:58 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+o PriceChild] by ChanServ
16:58 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [-z] by PriceChild
16:58 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [-o PriceChild] by ChanServ
16:59 < TheSheep> Cillian: I mean, programmers are usually welcome, because they fix things, ui people seem to only add broken things
16:59 <+pleia2> desertc: not being specific about involvement has been important to our project, many will scream about stereotypes *ducks* but more women ARE involved in softer skills than the technical stuff for whatever reason, and Ubuntu makes those contributions feel valued
16:59 <+pleia2> one of the reasons I love this project so much :)
17:00 <+svaksha> without usabilty, software is not really useful imo
17:00  * pleia2 nods
17:00 < Cillian> TheSheep: Of course programmers are essential, but what systems like Windows have above linux is not the quality of code, but (in some places) user interface design, artwork and general polish
17:00 < TheSheep> Cillian: yes, what I mean, it's hard a usability man to join a project, you are kind of an enemy
17:01 < Cillian> If there are any usability people looking for a friendly project, I could use one :)
17:01 <+svaksha> Cillian, also Windows had a head-start, Linux was always perceived as geeky
17:01 < Cillian> svaksha: Which is was, due largely to the mass of programmers making things and nobody making it look nice and be easy
17:02 <+svaksha> Cillian, Gnome has a usability project
17:02 < desertc> pleia2: The Classroom Project was part of your focus, too?  This is a great resource.  I would have almost liked a classroom topic this week on using the #ubuntu-classroom.
17:02 < Cillian> Heh
17:02 <+pleia2> desertc: yes, the Classroom project has been quiet of late, but we're looking to revitalize it, I think it's a very important project
17:02 < Lardarse> Question: do you think that encouraging women (particlarly those who aren't involved with development) to spread the word to other people would help get more women icontributing to the project?
17:02 <+svaksha> In ubuntu Evan D works on usability issues, i think
17:02 <+pleia2> Lardarse: absolutely
17:03 < Cillian> Is there much going on in here outside of the open weeks?  I've never bothered to pop in apart from them
17:03 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+v _MMA_] by ChanServ
17:03 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [-v _MMA_] by ChanServ
17:03 <+pleia2> Lardarse: I am taking some of the credit for the bump in women members in my LoCo team - if women are already there in a project or in an event, more are apt to come
17:03 <+pleia2> this goes for our local LUG as well
17:04 <+pleia2> it's very hard to be the first/only one
17:04  * svaksha agrees :)
17:04 <+pleia2> WRT Classroom - MOTU holds Q&A sessions here, but not much activity aside from that
17:05 <+pleia2> we're planningsome though :)
17:05 < Gareth> Question: (maybe this was already asked and I missed it..damn facebook!)  But what in you experience has been the most successful way of encouraging women to get involved in the open source community?
17:06 <+pleia2> Gareth: one on one support
17:06 <+pleia2> find their specific needs and talents and mentor them
17:06 <+pleia2> and now we must wrap this up :)
17:06 < Gareth> What about exposing them to open source software in general?
17:06 <+pleia2> that's great too!
17:07 < Cillian> Gareth: Show off your compiz bling to them :)
17:07 <+pleia2> show them what it has to offer, might spark an interest in involvement :)
17:07  * Vorian applauds pleia2 
17:07 <@Vorian> thanks!
17:07 < popey> thanks pleia2 
17:07 <+pleia2> show everyone your compiz bling!
17:07  * Cillian cheers
17:07 < popey> well done
17:07 -!- mode/#ubuntu-classroom [+o popey] by ChanServ
17:07  * svaksha cheers for pleia2
17:07 <+pleia2> thanks everyone
17:07  * jedijf too

MeetingLogs/openweekgutsy/UbuntuWomen (last edited 2008-08-06 16:25:07 by localhost)