11 Mar 2008

I guess I have a blind spot

filed under: journal  :: drupal  :: modern life  :: web development

A part of my post here about Drupal is quoted on a BlogHer post about the lack of women at the latest DrupalCon in Boston. It's all because I left a comment on Shelley Powers' site. Rats, I need to hide more.

I'm just kidding, sort of. But that whole discussion of why there aren't enough women at tech conferences....which has been going on for years now...hits me in a blind spot.

I don't get the fuss. I don't really see why gender has to do with of all things, a blog/CMS platform choice, even though I know that pushing the female agenda, as it were, is part of what BlogHer is about.

If I had the time, and more knowledge, I'd be happy to evangelize Drupal myself (not that I'm a 'woman prominent in tech' or anything, anymore, if I ever was). I just have too many things on my plate. Drupal development is not a primary business for PRODOK (which also makes it hard to justify the expense of attending a DrupalCon, even though Barcelona was mighty tempting since I've never been there); and these days I have a lot to occupy any free time I have. (Besides a lot of offline things going on in my life.) But not simply because I lack a penis. The Drupal community is quite a friendly and open place, there's no anti-female atmosphere of any kind (not a single boob or 'I'd do her' type of comment has ever been hinted at), and as the BlogHer article says there are already a few good women at the 'top' of the totem pole, widely respected by the community - especially webchick aka Angie Byron, and add1sun aka Addison Berry.

Besides, Drupal is an open source project, with a thriving development community. Unless we must somehow vicariously feel better about ourselves for using The Most Popular Program, why the need to specifically push the gender issue?

So, like I said, I don't see the point.

I guess I will wait for Shelley to weigh in on the issue.

Comments on this post:

@Chris, I see your point


I see your point about the issue being non related to gender, but I think, and feel that it's still nice to have the support and input of the women voice. Just like the presidential bid, what really mattered was whether the best person got the job, but had Hillary Clinton gotten into the White House, it would have sent a huge message for women.

Maybe us women make a big thing out of it, but it is important to us! :)

I guess, maybe I don't have

I guess, maybe I don't have the same perspective because I'm a male, but I don't understand the big deal about who recommends what and who's using what. If it's a great software program or a great conference -- go for it!! Thanks for sharing and hopefully there will just be more and more people, male & female realizing how great Drupal is.

Shelley, you make a good

Shelley, you make a good point. Though it could just have been a coincidence that some of (or the) first couple of people to recommend Drupal to you were female too! I guess for me, the gender of the person recommending a software program doesn't matter that much in the end. That being said though, the Drupal community at large has a lot going for it. Coming at it from another angle - it's not heavily US-centric, as many other popular platforms are; conference locations are evenly spread between the US and Europe and (upcoming) Australia. This means there's a lot of community effort put behind localization and such. For someone working in the 'rest of the world', that makes a difference, believe me. Overall, so far I see a distinct lack of ego and machismo going on. Not that I am deeply involved in the community, but even from the periphery I get that vibe. (Here's a nice example of the warm fuzziness that can happen.)


Consider this: when I've thought about switching to a tool in the past, most of those encouraging the switch were men. Moving to Drupal was the first time I had equal encouragement from men and women. That has to be healthy.

I think it's because

the more women made visible, the more women attracted, and eventually if things go in an ideal way, we may actually have 50/50 representation. Not just in using, but also in developing, designing, writing, etc. This should lead to a better tool, because of the broader spectrum of involvement. But I weighed in, and considered this a positive. Would I have gone to Drupal purely because of the women involved? No. There was the support for web semantics and SVG before I heard about the women. But the involvement of women definitely helped me make that switch decision.

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