I usually try to shy away from opinion posts (on this blog and elsewhere). When I do make them, I usually ask a few people if they think I’m asking for trouble.
This post: I don’t care if I am (but I hope I’m not).
There is something wrong with the imbalance of gender ratios in computing. Sure, that’s not really our fault (as members of the Ruby community), it starts at a young age and the stigma is set in before we even have a chance to contest it.
But I’m thinking about this issue, and you know, maybe we do need need to accept some responsibility. If the split between the genders was 75/25 or even 80/20, I’d say “Maybe it’s just a sociological thing”, but typically, you’re looking at conferences that are either all male, or have a handful of females at them.
The issue of composition alone is a rather serious one. If I walked into a room where 97% of the people were wearing red shirts, It’d make me uncomfortable. I’m sure there would be some quiet murmurings about that difference, and some jerk might even say “HEY: WHERES YOUR RED SHIRT, MAN!”, and I’d probably be made uncomfortable about that.
So, I guess I’m looking for opinions here. How do we make Ruby resources, events, and groups more friendly to women who would otherwise be interested if they weren’t concerned about the gender issues?
How can we make it clear that MINASWAN isn’t just for the fellas?
If we get some good discussion going, I’ll happily post a follow up summarizing the best ideas, and maybe we can make a difference. I’m just tired of hearing the same old “there is no issue”, or “there is an issue but it’s not up to us to deal with it” excuses.
So, how do we make Ruby the most broadly accepting language in terms of community? Maybe this question is even harder than the almost comical “does it scale?”, but I think it’s worth pondering.