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HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux

Val Henson

2002-10-29

Revision History
Revision 1.1 2002-10-29 Revised by: VH
Minor rewrites, typo fixes
Revision 1.0 2002-10-25 Revised by: JYG
Fixed validation errors, added license, abstract, versioning, etc.
Revision .9 2002-10-01 Revised by: VH
Initial version
Legal Notice
Table of Contents
1. Introduction
1.1. Audience
1.2. What problem? Sexism is dead!
1.3. About the author
2. Why are there so few women in Linux?
2.1. Women are less confident
2.2. Women have fewer opportunities for friendship or mentoring
2.3. Women are discouraged from an early age
2.4. Computing perceived as non-social
2.5. Lack of female role models
2.6. Games, classes aimed towards men
2.7. Advertising, media say computers are for men
2.8. Life-work balance more important to women
2.9. Reasons women avoid Linux specifically
3. Do's and don't's of encouraging women in Linux
3.1. Don't tell sexist jokes
3.2. Do protest sexist jokes
3.3. Don't call people bitches
3.4. Do show some respect
3.5. Don't take the keyboard away
3.6. Do give directions and explain them clearly
3.7. Don't make sexual advances towards women
3.8. Do act friendly
3.9. Don't complain about the lack of women in computing
3.10. Do encourage women in computing
3.11. Don't stare and point when women arrive
3.12. Do treat new arrivals politely
3.13. Don't treat women stereotypically
3.14. Do treat women as normal people
3.15. Don't criticize too much
3.16. Do compliment
3.17. Don't invite only male speakers
3.18. Do ask women to speak
3.19. Don't micro-specialize
3.20. Do discuss broader topics
3.21. Don't make your meetings hard to attend
3.22. Do make meetings easy to attend
3.23. Don't make new people feel unwelcome
3.24. Do help new people get involved
3.25. Don't underestimate girlfriends or wives
3.26. Do treat girlfriends and wives as independent people
4. But I don't do that!
A. LinuxChix

This article explains some of the difficulties and biases women face in the Linux community and examines various strategies for addressing those difficulties in order to encourage more participation by women.