I thought I should honor the fact that today is the International Women’s Day. I think this is a day when we all should take the time to think about how the equality between men and women is holding up. It’s a fact that men has advantages in society at large; higher salary for equal work, more higher placed posts in powerful positions (take a look at Worldwide Guide To Women In Leadership) – more power for short – and the list can be made long. To honor this day I will below make a tribute to women I admire! And the order in which they appear i purely random.
Susanna – or Sanna as she’s called in Sweden – is currently the worlds fastest short hurdle runner and holds the 60 meters hurdle indoor world record – 7,68 seconds. I’m probably not the only guy (or woman) who like her since she’s probably the most beloved athlete in Sweden. What I like about Sanna is that she seems to be so incredibly secure in her self, extremely humble and very witty. It’s always great fun hearing her being interviewed after a race. So besides the fact that I find her to be very beautiful I admire her for the fact that she’s one of the most shining track and field stars in the world and still being so down-to-earth, but still you wouldn’t mess with her!
And by coincident she’s running in the World Indoor Championships this very day! Go Sanna
The image of Sanna Kallur is stolen from Aftonbladet.se and I am shameful!
It’s no secret that women are under-represented in the world of web and software development! The reason for this I believe is purely an environmental/socializational thing. The same phenomenon can be seen in a wide range of areas and goes both ways for men and women. We are as children being taught what to wear, what to play with, how to speak and behave and so on, and the difference in how parents treat their sons and daughters is vast. It is, or at least it has been, a social standard that girls don’t get encouraged “playing” with computers which means they don’t grow any interest in using a computer in any other way than just using it! I’m will not bother ranting about this since there’s a ton of sociological studies addressing this problem – and I don’t mean the specific computer thing
One thing that we male web and software developers can do to make it easier for women to participate in the world of software development is stop being so freaking sexist and boyish on email-lists and web forums. Sometimes you get worried when you see the tone in which some of the discussions is conducted on web forums for developers and I can really see why women get scared away. On one forum I participate in a girl asked a question – it was her first post on the forum – and the first reply she got was something in line with: Oh, you are a girl! Are you good looking?. No wonder I never saw her signature there again! I think we have a “Moment 22″ here: Since there’s almost only guys on these places it’s easy the tone gets boyish and that scares women away. So I think we guys need to think carefully about how we express our selfs on public email lists and web forums.
This is something that has been addressed by women and there seems to be a few organizations for “women in computing” that strives to make a change in, among other things, this area. Some organizations that deserves attentions is LinuxChix, Debian Women and GenderIT and I’m certain there are more than those two.
And here’s something to dig into: HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux, which I think also addresses women in computing in general.
A day as this I must of course acknowledge the women that means the most to me, namely my Mom, my two sisters and my three sisters daughters. I love you all and I highly admire my sisters for their strength of personality, for what they have become and for how good mothers they are and for their beautiful families.
Now I just have to meet girlfriend!
A tribute to the International Womens Day