[hackerspaces] An interesting point of view : "On Feminism and Microcontrollers"

Maria Droujkova droujkova at gmail.com
Sun Oct 3 15:04:26 CEST 2010

 On Sat, Oct 2, 2010 at 7:34 PM, Yves Quemener <quemener.yves at free.fr>wrote:

> On 10/02/2010 02:35 PM, Maria Droujkova wrote:
> > Lack of welcome takes different forms. For example, some books are read
> > by different genders disproportionally, because of words in them.
> Could you point at a practical example of lack of welcome that applies to
> some hackerspaces that were biased against women specifically ? I am not
> arguing that there are statistically significant differences between men
> and women behaviors, I am arguing that the gender imbalance in hackerspaces
> come from stereotypes that exist outside of them.

I agree that imbalances come from outside. I can make some guesses about
what features attract or repel people by gender. For example, information
about opening hackerspaces may be distributed in predominantly male
networks. This suspicion is easy to investigate. You can just ask people in
hackerspaces how they decided to come, and then see the populations targeted
by these "types of welcome."

> The thing is (in my humble opinion) that hackerspaces do not have the same
> mission as schools in that regard. HS are supposed to offer mature people
> tools to hack in an atmosphere of tolerance and sharing. Come solder, come
> program, come sew, come sculpt. You won't be mocked (actually, from what I
> read on the ML, when someone mentioned sewing in the tmplab, a workshop was
> asked because many people perceived this skill as very useful). But please
> bring your skills, don't wait for others to propose them. That's what that
> it is about.

I thought information about unschooler and some homeschooler networks (as
opposed to schools) is relevant precisely because of the atmosphere of DIY,
initiative, and tolerance within unschooler circles. There are, obviously,
many differences.

> WoW is a commercial game. They need to have the biggest marketshare
> possible. I don't see why hackerspaces should aim at a balance ratio of
> genders. They are places to hack, learn, share. Opened to any gender, and
> usually full of really open-minded people. What more to ask for ?
> Iv

The majority of commercial games aim at 15-25 males, however. Only a few
even try to target mixed audiences, by age or by gender. I brought up WoW
because they do try, and succeed for some demographics but not others.

I don't know why the balance of genders in hackerspaces came up, either. Is
it even a problem?! Maybe hackerspaces can be happily segregated or

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