[hackerspaces] hackerspace demographics

charlie wallace charlie at finitemonkeys.com
Thu Jan 17 05:07:01 CET 2013

One minute we are all soldering surface mount. Next minute its hats and
scarves everywhere.

It was only hostile when I didnt want to wear the hat
On Jan 16, 2013 7:39 PM, "Bilal Ghalib" <bg at bilalghalib.com> wrote:

> Charlie, that's awesome! Was it a slow creep or a hostile take over ;)
> On Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 7:26 PM, charlie wallace wrote:
> If it helps any our hackerspace was primarily electronics and the knitters
> took over recently :)
> On Jan 14, 2013 7:55 PM, "Lisha Sterling" <lishevita at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 9:27 PM, Nathaniel Bezanson <myself at telcodata.us>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> on paper our membership is about 80% male, but if you look at the
> people who actually show up and participate, it's a lot more even --
> roughly 60/40 most of the time.
> >
> >
> > It sounds like you have a great space there!
> >
> > Last year at SpaceCamp, an unconference for hacker and maker spaces run
> by School Factory, we had an informal poll of the founders and facilitators
> there to see what the gender makeup was. Despite the fact that there were
> about 30% women at the conference, it turned out that the membership of
> hackerspaces tended to run closer to 90/10 with a few notable exceptions. A
> couple of the women there spoke directly to the fact that they were made to
> feel unwelcome at some hackerspaces even as the hackerspace *said* that
> they were being gender-blind.
> >
> > An example that I can think of off the top of my head is how at one
> mid-west hackerspace, a woman started a knitting group that brought in a
> lot of other women. Some of those women became involved in other areas of
> the hacker space, but not all of them did. However, *some* of the men in
> the hackerspace continually berated and badmouthed the knitting group,
> complaining that it was taking up space that should have been used for
> "real" hacking like woodwork, metalwork, programming and electronics. The
> knitting group wasn't forced to stop, but the discomfort from the way that
> they were treated meant that fewer women wanted to come, not only to the
> knitting group, but to other functions as well. The knitting group died,
> and the hackerspace was left with only a couple of female members (one of
> which went on to become a facilitator at another hackerspace).
> >
> > I agree that the way to get future women into the hackerspaces is to get
> their parents in today. We all need role models. Are parents are our first
> role models. The other adults in the spaces we frequent as a child (school,
> scouts, daycare, hackerspace, etc) are very important as well.
> >
> > There is another issue that needs to be addressed, and that is making
> sure that your hackerspace is an open and welcoming place to all: women,
> gays, transgendered people, people of different faiths, or colors, or
> shapes, or sizes...
> >
> > There is a lot of work going on in this area at a lot of hackerspaces
> and that is really fantastic. Be aware, though, that you might not be aware
> of the issues facing any minority in your space. Sometimes you can find out
> by asking. Sometimes you can't. An of course, if you don't know that there
> is a problem, it's pretty much impossible to fix it. But when someone does
> speak up, hear them out and see what can be done.
> >
> > As for women not wanting to talk to the press about being a woman in a
> hackerspace, there may be several reasons for that. 1) It's really awesome
> at your space and they don't see a point. In which case you should maybe
> encourage them to speak to the press and say exactly that, since it will
> help women who feel timid about joining *any* hackerspace more likely to
> show up. 2) They are sick of saying the same things over and over to the
> press, being misrepresented and painted as either a victim or a hero or
> some other archetype rather than as a person who hangs out at a
> hackerspace. 3) They really don't like anything that smacks of personal
> advertising. "Get my name in the paper? Ick! No thank you!!" 4-infinity) I
> can't possibly know all the other reasons...
> >
> > - Lisha
> >
> > --
> > http://www.alwayssababa.com/
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
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