On Sun, May 26, 2013 at 9:51 PM, Neville A. Cross <neville(a)taygon.com> wrote:
I have been pursuing this issue for a about 4 or 5 years now with
success. I have learned a couple of things. First, it is hard to reach
critical mass. The skills of some women does not match the needs of
other. The second is that some how what the community need is a safe
environment free of trolls. Rude people impact hard on beginners, as
some males come back for a second round, we turn blind to the fact that
we are dismissing a lot of beginners. They may have some technical
skills, but are facing the challenge of some unspoken group rules that
come from old dynamics, that are fading but not eradicated. Trolling
include some male flirtation, from invading personal space to harassment
We started by having a code of conduct that in its first point
our aim for this safe environment gender/new-comers aware. We have tried
to the maximum to foster that in our local fedora group but sadly, it is
hard to keep trolls out. Some issues raised in our local mailing list by
our own fedora enthusiast been rude. Some times it is from people part
of the free software general community attending our events. It is
difficult but most fedora official members (as in FAS account holders)
are committed to this.
Nevertheless, in Nicaragua, we have failed before. We are trying the
idea of promoting a monthly women gathering about free software.
Initially with males only for invitation, hope that later more open
door, but always with power of banning people. I am sponsoring the place
and stepping aside from participating. I have contacted some TIC groups
with female focus. I hope that if this work, we can later get
sponsorship from some NGO that we are using now to spread the word about
This is a difficult task for Fedora Community, as this is a issue that
have to be dealt locally, and some times local fedora groups are not big
and resourceful enough to do some sort of what we are planning in
Nicaragua. I want my comments give hope and ideas to built a better
fedora community. I am really needing more insight, so please any advise
is more that welcome.
Yes, the local aspect is very important.
In India, we have had many college/university level events with women
participation, but very few of the participants actually go up to the
level of contributing or into advocacy.
The issues in India are very different from that of Nicaragua. Here we
have huge economic inequality and deprivation. Sex education is not
part of the education system and only a small percentage of the people
are literate. Our target group in India can only include the lower
middle class and above. The patriarchy in conjunction with evil
religions and caste does not permit most women to think or act freely.
Since it is a systematic brainwashing process, even progressive forces
cannot or do not work against it for various reasons. Discrimination
is the norm. Apart from the Left, none of the political parties have
progressive views and the Left does have electoral compulsions. We
have organizations that work towards "free software for poorer
classes" and taking free s/w to villages like FSMWB, FSMK and FSMI. In
the state of Kerala, they have ~100% literacy and free s/w adoption
has happened to some extent (the present state Govt is not so friendly
towards free s/w ) due to low level work of free s/w communities, but
they still have a very patriarchal scheme of social order.
Basically it is necessary to combine feminism(s) with Fedora.
This is difficult because of Fedora policies/goals.
It is necessary to select better active forms of feminism and work
with related groups.
Otherwise pushing ahead with "community participation" and
"participation of women" without any real thrust on the the basic
issues preventing participation will not work.
Ubuntu on the other hand might venture into evil things like religion:
ubuntu-christian edition etc.
They do not have a feminism(s) or woman edition. So I am specifying it in depth.
A few preliminary posts on that are here:
Many of the so-called Indian feminist groups are themselves backward,
stuck in patriarchal scheme of things, hetero-normative perspectives
and other anti-progressive views. So one needs to be cautious about
the type of people to work with.
CU, ASL, AMS, CLC, CMS