[Haskell-cafe] Re: Are there any female Haskellers?

Christopher Lane Hinson lane at downstairspeople.org
Sun Mar 28 12:11:57 EDT 2010

On Sun, 28 Mar 2010, G?nther Schmidt wrote

> "display themselves on demand" is putting it rather harshly don't you think?

No.  The women in our community are not required to come forth as 
witnesses on what it's like to be women in our community.  They most 
likely do not want to be under a magnifying glass, do not want to be 
exposed to harrasment, and would not actually be qualified to personally 
represent all other women in the community.  They do not want to be held 
up as community ornaments.

If you're wondering how I know what women in our community want -- I 
don't.  I'm just paraphrasing things that women in this situation have 
repeatedly said, and yet, somehow, gone unheard.

It was probably also uncool to call out a specific woman by name, who did 
not volunteer for this.


I think we have some work to do to make the haskell community inclusive.

One thing that I keep hearing is "I'm not trying to be offensive."  I 
think it's easy to get caught up on "not being offensive" so that we don't 
make any progress.  It's impossible not to offend people -- but it is 
possible to take the time to listen and correct problematic behavior and 
communicate what you've learned to others.

It is, however, not necessary to speculate on why there are few women in 
the community.  A great deal has already been written on the topic, 
particularly on the Geek Feminism blog, which I already mentioned, and 
also by the debian-women team.


There is also a paper (click the link to the PDF) by the AAUW.


By the way, there is a fun test that can identify a subconscious tendency 
to categorize math, engineering and the hard sciences according to gender.


Click on the "Demonstrations" link and take the Gender-Science IAT.

It's important that people who want to make our community more 
inclusive speak up, and that we challenge assumptions or statements that 
work against inclusivity.  This is not about protecting women -- it is 
about making it clear that someone who makes a sexist statement does not 
represent us, and it's about teaching those fellow haskellers who will 
listen to be better citizens.

Someone mentioned reddit.  The haskell community has a considerable 
presence on reddit, but reddit has a reputation for hard misogyny.  As of 
this morning, the haskell.org main page is three easy clicks from an adult 
web site (haskell.org -> haskell subreddit -> reddit main page -> whatever is 
there).  This is probably not sending the right message.

Please, try to take the time to study the above reasources and apply them 
to the benefit of our community.


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