[hackerspaces] How Do You Bring In Women?

Rhys Rhaven rhys at rhavenindustrys.com
Sat Jan 19 06:06:47 CET 2013

You don't like day spas do you Greg?

On 01/18/2013 04:01 PM, Greg McGuire wrote:
> Listen, this conversation is just going to go round and round and
> round and round and round.  Our inboxes are going to get filled up
> until people are tired of talking. And then a day or two later someone
> is going to bring it up again and it's going to start the cycle over.
> We're approaching 100 emails (98 including this one) about women in
> hackerspaces, makerspaces, feminism, bullying, and knitting.  And I'm
> not looking to say that women do or don't belong, feminists are good
> or evil, and that knitting does or doesn't blow.  Basically, what I'm
> looking to say is that no one person, or group of people, can or
> should decide. 
> The world is a very diverse place.  What makes sense to me isn't
> necessarily going to make since to someone in another country than
> mine, let alone another part of my country, let another part of my
> state. If you want to start a space, than more power to you.  I hope
> that you have a good base group of people that get along with each
> other and that you can find the money to get a space that suits your
> groups needs. But the X factor is really what happens after you get
> going, and nobody on this mailing list can tell you what that is. If
> you started a space and you're not about to shutter your doors, than
> more power to you. Clearly, what you're doing is working for you.
>  This is one of the reasons why there are multiple spaces in the same
> cities and towns, and in the same country/state within an hour of each
> other. What works for your space isn't always going to work for the
> space down the road.
> As for the women thing, if you're a woman and you want to join or
> participate at a space, than do it. Whether there are a hundred men
> there or three. They're idiots if they, "scare you away," and you're
> an idiot if you're, "scared away." Hackers, makers, engineers, geeks,
> and nerds, aren't cookie cutter people.  They think and
> act differently than, "mainstream people," let alone people in their
> own categories.  Give them time to get to know them before you either
> run away screaming or you run them out on a rail because you don't
> like them. Also, if you witness something happening or think that
> something might be about to happen that is questionable, than talk to
> somebody about it.  Not only does, "if you see something say
> something," work for fighting the terrorists of the world, it works
> for problems in communities around the world and has been for
> thousands of years. I personally would love to have women working on
> things at the space I'm a part of, unfortunately for me my space is
> 100% men.  Aside from making up events based on stereotypes like pie
> baking, book clubs, sewing circles, Twilight, et cetera, I don't know
> how to do that.
> There are organizations that are dedicated to women in technology, but
> they're not everywhere and I don't hear of them doing events in our
> spaces. Maybe we should find a way to court them?
> --Greg--
> --
> ---
> Greg McGuire
> Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director - NESIT
> Email: greg at nesit.org <mailto:greg at nesit.org>
> Office: 203-514-2257
> Cell: 860-501-9428
> www.nesit.org <http://www.nesit.org>
> On Jan 18, 2013, at 2:17 PM, Ron Bean
> <makerspace at rbean.users.panix.com
> <mailto:makerspace at rbean.users.panix.com>> wrote:
>> Pete Prodoehl <raster at gmail.com <mailto:raster at gmail.com>> writes:
>>> The location of your space is also key... we
>>> were in a old industrial complex one member called "Assault Town"
>>> (though we never experienced any assaults) it was not a place that
>>> most women would feel comfortable going to alone at night. (I know,
>>> because I asked one.)
>> Also, it was a former grinding shop, in a 100 year old building, and it
>> was inherently filthy. Black dust constantly filtered out of the ceiling
>> beams, and we could never keep anything really clean. Anything related
>> to textiles was a non-starter. This wasn't just a problem for women, it
>> was a problem for any activity that needed a clean surface to work on.
>> Fortunately that's not a problem at our new space.
>> On the upside, we started with a very diverse set of interests (not just
>> computers & electronics, although we have those also), and we generally
>> welcome anyone who brings any kind of skills to share, or who wants to
>> learn.
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