[hackerspaces] How Do You Bring In Women?

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Sat Jan 19 04:09:24 CET 2013

Also as previously brought up.  Dude's love day spas.

On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 7:07 PM, Angus Gratton <gus at projectgus.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 01:21:08PM -0500, Lokkju Brennr wrote:
>> It seems like many day spas get men through the doors but scare them
>> off. The SalonBar has a slightly different problem - men simply never show
>> up in the first place!
>> Of the 750+ people who have come through our doors, perhaps ten have been
>> men. I'm wondering how to increase this.
> Hi Lokkju,
> From your email it looks like you're equating male interest in day
> spas with female interest in hackerspaces. I read the implication as
> being that in either case 10 in 750 (1.3%) is representative and Zack
> is mistaken in questioning what they're doing wrong.
> I'm wondering what the actual numbers of men potentially interested in
> day spas and women potentially interested in hackerspaces are.
> For spa goers, it's hard to find an industry wide source but 10-30%
> men spa attendees in the US seems the norm.[1] So if your spa had 1%
> it could easily make you wonder what you were doing wrong.
> I looked for some data to quantitatively estimate women's potential
> interest in hackerspaces.
> People at many hackerspaces do electronics and other
> engineering. 12-18% of electrical engineers in the US are women.[2]
> People at many hackerspaces write software. 20% of software engineers
> in the US are women.[3]
> Obviously industry numbers aren't indicative of general interest (and
> come with their own cultural and environmental baggage), but they give
> a strong indication that it's more than 1.3%.
> Moreover, many hackerspaces encourage "anyone who wants to hack or make
> anything", as per the awesome Dutch poster posted yesterday?  With
> such a wide net, an interest for everyone, the gender proportion of
> potentially interested people should therefore be around 50/50.
> For example, Crash Space in LA with their 50/50 gender split.[4]
> So I can see why Zack would like the demographic at MakerBar to
> more closely resemble the demographic of potentially interested
> people. I think it's great he's asking for help and trying.
> If I were Zack, I'd want MakerBar to appeal to every single person who
> could get practical productive use from it, and contribute to the
> community. I think that's a worthwhile goal. And I think it's
> definitely worth supporting anyone who wants to work towards it.
> - Angus
> [1] http://www.dayspamagazine.com/slideshow/they%E2%80%99ve-got-male
> [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_engineering_in_the_United_States#Statistics_and_relevant_data
> [3]
> http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/programming-and-development/it-gender-gap-where-are-the-female-programmers/2386
> (I'm using US stats because they're easiest to come by and the
> original poster was in the US, but this link has numbers for many
> other countries.)
> [4]
> http://www.make-digital.com/make/vol32?pg=83#pg83
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