Looks like Mark Shuttleworth has created a storm by uttering something which is not well received by a few Feminine Geeks. First I thought that ‘asking for apology’ is only my country’s national pastime, but probably it’s international.
The way everything is put forward, I can only say that things are blown out of proportion. Did Mark say that women are incompetent? Did he say that they are dumb or anything even faintly similar? Quoting from Skud’s article on geekfeminism
I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make it to LinuxCon this year; I hear it’s a pretty good event. I’ve been listening with some interest to people’s reports of what’s going on there, and this afternoon I heard from multiple sources about your keynote, in which you referred to our work in Linux as being “hard to explain to girls”.
She was herself not on the venue and all she knows is from *multiple* sources. Sometimes words get distorted and lose their context if they get passed from person to person. LinuxCon is not a place to vent someone’s anger, nor to abuse anyone. If Mark wanted to abuse them, he would have said it somewhere else.
The reality is that the population of girls/women in FOSS world is very marginal. I know that situation is improving, but it would not happen overnight. In my country girls are more attracted towards medical, healthcare, product services etc. First, India’s female literacy is less than male’s. Secondly, the percentage of girls in Indian engineering colleges is quite less. Thirdly, most of the female engineering graduates want to pursue MBA. So, hardly girls are left whom you would find interested in FOSS. Those who are really enthusiastic surely go a long way.
Shuttleworth said that Linux is hard to explain to girls. I can only say that it’s even tough to explain to guys who are not interested in technical matters. Probably Mark must have tried explaining it to girls who are not even interested in computers. Neither me nor Mark has any intention to look down upon women, but nit-picking at each and every phrase is somewhat lame. This actually does more harm to women who want to be more involved in FOSS.
For those who are still trapped up in the same array of tweets and dents related to this event, you may prefer reading Matthew Brennan Jones’s response to geekfeminism. He has written a post on his blog clearing the misconceptions. Go read it as he was physically present that time of the event.
I know am late expressing my views, but it hardly matters.