Why do I support the PyStar initiative



As you may have noticed, the previous blogpost ,written by Delphine, has triggered a lot of negative comments on IRC, Facebook, or throughout mails… That’s why, I’ve decided to write this blogpost to raise the debate on this blog, and to explain why I do support the PyStar initiative… even if I understand some of these reactions.

First of all, I’m aware that PyStar isn’t specifically a WoMoz initiative, but I don’t care. It is supported by a great WoMoz member : Lukas Blakk, who wants to share her knowledge, and I admire her for that. I’m just a contributor, I don’t know how to code, and I appreciate this initiative, because women, who encounter some discriminations during their studies, often can’t really choose if they want to code (“what my daughter? You want to do a boy’s work?!!!”). Lukas is telling, to all these women: “it’s not to late, we are ready to help you, to let you discover if you would like to code”. And it’s a way to reduce the gap between men and women about code. A gap which is very important, if you accept to be realistic.

But why create an event only (or nearly only) for women, since that’s what people are mostly complaining about. I can understand. In some way. BUT. Let’s try to understand how it is when, as a women, you discover the geeks universe. First of all, there are a lot of men. A lot. It’s nice when you are looking for a boyfriend, but not really when you want to be considered as a geek as well. Because there are sometimes some sexist jokes, because some men (a few, really a few but they exist) are convinced that women can’t code, and because women are often very shy the first time. But why? You know, during two years, I was a journalist in a sport’s broadcast. It was very hard for me. Because, each time I did a mistake (about a name, a technical word, etc.), I was devastated : I knew that men would conclude it was only because I was a woman. When you want to code, it’s the same thing: you don’t want to keep misconceptions going. You want to prove women can do the same thing than men. But you know that everybody is watching you out of the corner of their eyes. So PyStar wants to help women to do the first step.

But it would only be a first step: once they know what is Python, and how to code it, we don’t want to separate men and women until the end. PyStar only wants to help women to have confidence in themselves.

Anyway, I’m not sure it’s the better way to improve women visibility in FLOSS. But it’s a new way, and I think it must be tried. All must be tried to welcome women in FLOSS. But of course, we also need men to erase misconceptions. We also need men to teach code. We also need men to raise some debates. We also need men for everything. But overall, we need to be respected. And in order to be respected, we need to have confidence in ourselves. Confidence, it’s just what PyStar wants to bring us.

I hope you’ll understand me. Of course, I’m ready to debate. And I’d really like to have your opinion!

Next goes conclusion. It summarizes the whole paper and restating the thesis, proving your point of view one more time. The reference list is the last, but not the least. It should have appropriate style. Use manuals which can be found on the Internet to get to know standards of MLA, APA, Harvard and other styles to have a good essay that would impress your teacher.


2 responses

  1. Majken “Lucy” Connor wrote on :

    Hi Claire. PyStar is definitely a great thing. I actually convinced a friend to help out with the MV one.

    I’m curious about your mention of negative comments on IRC and facebook. You say there were a lot, but I don’t see anything in my #womoz scrollback. I’m also not subscribed to any group on facebook that is discussing this. Where were these negative comments made, and what were they? I only know about the thread I raised on the mailing list which wasn’t at all a comment on PyStar, let alone a negative view on the project.

  2. Lukas wrote on ::

    There were comments on individual Facebook accounts and in IRC channels other than #womoz regarding the need or usefulness of this kind of an event. There was also a lot of support. Thank you Claire for posting your thoughts about this. I personally find it sort of funny how quickly people jump to a “this is reverse discrimination” attitude when they hear of an event like this instead of thinking “Oh, more people who are interested in what I’m interested in”.

    For more information regarding the invalidity of a “reverse sexism” claim, please read http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/06/03/faq-arent-feminists-just-sexists-towards-men/