Php Women

I was on ##php at freenode (I try to be a good php community citizen and help out occasionally, usually for php5 questions even though irc in general tends to attract the not so pleasant aspects of the community) and noticed a little "Girls only need apply" in the topic. So curious that I checked out the link. (and why girls? It should be females only need apply - just a nitpick but good grief I'm 27 with four children, long past the girl stage)
ElizabethN and lig both have an interesting post about starting a php women's group. Sounds good to me. I have had a chance to meet a lot of php users but in general they follow the dave ratio - there are as many men named dave as there are women in a given computer related group/class/community. I know that happens to be a pretty pervasive issue in the world - fewer women are involved in math and science related fields.

For me it would be nice to have a group of people to talk with and cooperate with who face some of the same issues I do on a day to day basis. Face it people, women do think differently and they face different issues than a man (show me a single man who's ever had to face having a baby :p). That's not necessarily a bad thing, but a relationship between two women will always have a different tone and focus than a relationship between a man and a woman - that's life. (Notice I didn't say better or worse, just different.)

The idea has precendent in the open source community. Both fedora and ubuntu have women's groups already established. And of course, there's the venerable linuxchix

There have been some detractors to the idea (all men - no surprise there) who don't seem to understand the point of such a group. Women in general have to crawl over big fat social hurdles when moving into math and science based careers in the first place. And, not to knock all geeks, but they generally have very poor social skills when interacting with females. Sometimes it would be nice not to have every person in the irc chat room go "you're a girl!" as though you had a purple nose and were dancing the hula. I'd love to have women in open source be common place - the statistics on the ubuntu women homepage from the flosspols report make me shake my head.

Now granted, they are statistics and as such liable to fudging - but 1.5% in OSS to 28% in proprietary ... maybe there are some things in open source that do need to be enhanced. I can't be the only woman alive who's content to nurse her baby while sitting in front of the computer screen...

To wrap my little meandering not-almost-ok maybe rant up, if you're a female and you're interested in joining the club, you can hop onto #phpc at freenode and respond to lig's blog post. will be the home of the new group eventually, right now it's just a placeholder.

In any case, I have laundry and dishes and cookies to bake for my son's birthday (after I buy food at the store...oh for grocery delivery...but I'm in midwest small town USA)

Update: I've found a couple more articles dealing with the subject that are really thought provoking. Also there's now #phpwomen on freenode - come say hi!


Piers Cawley

As the author of one of those 'thought provoking' articles, I hope that's 'good' thought provoking.rnrnBest of luck with the PHP women's group; more spaces like this and hence, if somewhat paradoxically, more visibility for women in open source, can only be a good thing.

2006-10-12 2:29 am

Post a Reply