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79912923 story Open Source

The Empathy Gap and Why Women Are Treated So Badly In Open Source Projects (perens.com) 786

Posted by Soulskill on Friday January 01, 2016 @12:33PM from the don't-be-a-jerk-on-the-internet dept. Bruce Perens writes: There's no shortage of stories of horrible treatment of women in Open Source projects. But how did we get here? How did we ever get a community where a vocal minority of males behave in the most boorish, misogynistic, objectifying manner toward women? I have a theory: "It’s unfortunately the case that software development in general and Open Source communities are frequented by males who have social development issues. I once complained online about how offended I was by a news story that said many software developers were on the autism spectrum. To my embarrassment, there were many replies to my complaint by people who wrote 'no, I really am on the spectrum and I’m not alone here.'

It’s still an open issue whether males and females have built-in biases that, for example, lead fewer women to be programmers, or if such biases only develop as a response to social signals. There is more science to be done. But it’s difficult to do that sort of science because we can’t separate the individuals from the social signals they’ve grown up with. Certainly we can improve the situation for the women who would be programmers except for the social signals."


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