[hackerspaces] Women in Makerspaces

Chris Hardee shazzner at gmail.com
Thu Jan 17 23:52:17 CET 2013

Well said!

On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 4:46 PM, rachel lyra hospodar
<rachelyra at gmail.com> wrote:
> "It could be that she host a class about e-textiles or whatever it is
> females like to talk about."
> *headdesk*
> protip - sometimes women focus on the textile stuff *because* then they can
> be in a group that is at least 15% women.  The Feminist Hacker Hive that
> meets up at noisebridge has found that there is a tipping point - if a
> critical mass of women are present in conversation, they don't get
> interrupted by clueless neanderthal types.
> I used to make a living as a carpenter, welder, and construction manager.  I
> left that work because of gender and age based disrespect.
> I sniffed around the edges of Silicon Valley but didn't dive in for the same
> reasons.  I do work in soft circuitry now, but it's not because rigid
> circuits are too difficult.  It's a brute-force solution designed to avoid
> people as condescending as you, david.
> If the tech industry truly wants to innovate on things like interface we
> could do with re-examining how people interact, and what we are really
> seeking.  To do that, though, we have to change the culture.
> R.
> On 1/17/2013 8:26 AM, David Powell wrote:
>> At Baltimore Hackerspace we have been 100% male until last month. We had
>> the occasional Female come through the door but for whatever reason they
>> never come back. We now have exactly 1 female member and about 20 male
>> members. The males ALWAYS go out of their way to make the place more
>> female friendly. For example we try hard not to use inappropriate
>> language around females. Whenever they show a desire to learn something
>> we stop what we are doing and teach them whatever it is they want to
>> know. At the end of the night when they are leaving we always have
>> someone walk them to their car so they feel safe.
>> I highly encourage all members of our space no matter what their gender
>> is to make it their own. For example we have Programmers, Electronic
>> Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Accountants, Students, etc. and you can
>> pick anyone person from any of those backgrounds and they could tell you
>> a subject that they just don't care about. So if a programmer wants more
>> programmers to talk to and hang out with I encourage them to send out a
>> few e-mails and become more active online in order to help find more
>> people interested in programming. I don't however expect the mechanical
>> engineers to go find programmers if they have no interest in learning to
>> program.
>> I would say the same should be true with the female/male issue. If a
>> hackerspace has one female and she wants more females in the hackerspace
>> then she should start a campaign to find more females. It could be that
>> she host a class about e-textiles or whatever it is females like to talk
>> about.
>> If a female in the hackerspace wants to be on our board I would gladly
>> accept them but I would hold them to the same standards as I hold
>> everyone. As a board member you are "Responsible" for the future of the
>> hackerspace. This means a lot of work that really sucks. For us it is
>> not just making decisions but actually getting the work done. For
>> example we need brochures made to hand out to people who are coming
>> through our door for the first time and at special events. Ok we voted
>> that we need those. Now what? Well, someone has to actually design and
>> make the things. But we don't have a budget to just pay a designer. So
>> the person in charge of making it happen has to find someone with the
>> talent to make it happen or figure out how to do it themselves. "But I
>> just want to hack" is usually what most people say. Nobody wants to
>> actually do anything the is important. They want to do what is fun at
>> the time.
>> As the president I spend about 40 hours a week making sure the finances
>> are straight, making sure our social media is up to date, sending out
>> request to try and get us stuff that we can't afford, making sure the
>> place is clean for the next wave of new people who come through the
>> door, making sure the projector works for the classes we host, making
>> sure the refrigerator gets stocked with soda. I could keep going.
>> My point is it does not matter what gender you are. It matters whether
>> or not you actually do work which contributes to the future of the
>> space. If you want more women then go find them. If you want more say in
>> what is going on then offer to help take care of some of the task that
>> need to be accomplished.
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Chris Hardee
San Antonio Hackerspace
10bitworks at gmail.com

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