I realise what a minority women in technology and engineering are and it’s a feedback loop that stifles future participation. We don’t want to see a skills segregation in the future. Young people are particularly susceptible to social pressures and I know women are being put off engagement in free software and engineering because of their minority status in those communities.
Positive action is being taken and it’s great to see the outreach work being done by GNOME. If you are a woman interested in technology I suggest you apply for their Outreach Program for Women. Getting people to switch from a consumer mentality and to engage with positive projects can be empowering.
Personally I was a terminal lurker on the internet only ever really consuming content. I learned a great deal, about the world and about myself but I feel we should be encouraging people, especially disenfranchised groups to engage in society. It’s easy to feel like you don’t have the skills or the momentum to make a difference but you will never know unless you do something repeatedly, learning from your mistakes as you go.
All of us can fall into ruts and negative cycles but engaging with communities is important. We all need a voice and should never feel like we can’t make a difference. Plenty of women out there have skills that could benefit the free software movement and the barrier to entry should be clearly understood.
The empowerment of women needs to flourish in all sectors. The casual oppression of women through stereo typing should be fought, we are all capable of greatness in whatever field we choose and happen to excel at. I just hope women like myself can feel confident enough to speak their mind not only amongst friends but in new communities and social circles.
Women need to have the confidence to participate in any field and technology and science should be no different. Cultural brainwashing paints a very limiting picture of a woman’s role in society and we should begin to dismantle those tropes. Let’s bring in a new age of freedom, equality and solidarity by empowering everyone to connect with their core values and to build a future worth believing in.