moving on from experiencing to changing the structure

I attended a “women in open source community ” BoF last night. I think that the intention for the BoF was good. But despite the efforts of the moderator, the discussion looped repeatedly on personal problems, and didn’t get very far into the meat of what we might really do to get more women into open source.

What if we looked beyond individual behavior and experience to the structures preventing women from participating?

Someone mentioned a recent study on a public university’s successful effort to increase female enrollment – presumably in a computer science program. We need information like this distilled from academic papers and organized as principles! Arm change-agents with facts and let them loose!

I think that our goal should aim for equal (50%!) representation across all computer-related fields. That is not going to happen without systemic change, or because a few people stop being jerks. It will only happen if the system that brings people into computer science and information technology puts a premium on gender equality.