[OSGeo-Discuss] Mentoring program @OSGeo[-women]

Alan Palazzolo alan at zzolo.org
Sun Sep 12 02:04:41 PDT 2010

Chris, I think your point is extremely valid, and is important to be said.

But I don't think this is the goal or direction of mentoring
specifically for women.  Given that there are underrepresented
peoples, like women, in OSGeo (or IT at large), supporting a
mentorship program that is based on the idea that women can be the
better mentor for women is important.

As you admit, there are barriers for specific groups, though totally
artificial and social, they are still there and need to be addressed.
By allowing a group, women in this case, to support themselves more
and offer their experiences to other women, it does actually help
break those barriers.

I think this sort of program is really important, and would apply to
any underrepresented group, such as visually-impaired, Ethiopians,
Chinese, LGBT, impoverished, etc.  It is about creating more
meaningful mentor opportunities, not discriminating or distinguishing
between specific groups.

On the flip side, I do think it's a fine line.  This is definitely a
concern when you start to look at what resources are allocated and
what the mission of organizations are.  I think it important to create
a mentorship program for everyone because there is always a need, even
for those that are not underrepresented.  And so it is important that
resources reflect the idea of mentoring and creating a better
community, and not specifically a certain group.

Alan Palazzolo
alan at zzolo.org

On Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 8:34 AM, Chris Puttick
<chris.puttick at thehumanjourney.net> wrote:
> At terrible risk of going against the grain here, but I don't like discrimination, whatever its guise and whatever its motive. Call me idealistic, but it has been my experience that discrimination has only one outcome and that is discrimination. Me, I'm human; so far I've never worked or encountered a non-human intelligence so I cannot comment beyond humanity. But I can say I've worked with some great humans and some crap humans and some mediocre humans in a wide variety of sectors, and I observed no relationship between their greatness/crapness/mediocrity and their gender/sexual preferences/race/religion/musical tastes or even, despite my expectations, whether they or not they liked dogs.
> Adjustments in behaviour, organisational structures, language, special programmes et al. to favour one identifiable group over others serves only to discriminate against the others. It does nothing to resolve the real issue, which is the mistaken belief that all members of one identifiable group are inherently unable or less able to do a thing, or the similarly mistaken belief that the behaviour of one or two people from an established community towards you or your identifiable group is something you can then tar that other entire identifiable group with. In fact such "affirmative action" has the opposite result; it fosters discrimination by continually reinforcing the idea that one group needs help over another "opposite" group and, worse, reinforces the idea that these broad group distinctions are real rather than artificial constructs.
> It seems to me that the greatest cause of discrimination statistics is that idea that occurs when you see yourself as being part of an identifiable group and use that to guide your behaviour i.e. when you look to your groups' behaviours for guidance on what it is you might do with your life. Maybe my crazy brand of idealism is doomed to failure; maybe, for example, Baha'i followers will only ever engage in occupations that other Baha'i do, and Hindus will only ever do jobs other Hindus do. It remains however my hope (and guides how I act myself) that people will realise that these groupings, like most others, are entirely artificial when it comes to determining what you do in life, and that others will join me in that belief and act accordingly.
> Regards
> Chris
> ----- Original Message -----
>> Hi all, and sorry for cross-posting,
>> I want to share with you what I found, surfing from link to link from
>> a mail sent to Systers ml.
>> I stumbled first on
>> http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/Online/Blogs/ROSE-Blog-Rikki-s-Open-Source-Exchange/Inequality-Choices-and-Hitting-a-Wall
>> but I felt it was not the case of OSGeo.
>> Then I found a link about the female representation in 2010 Google
>> Summer of Code - very encouraging:
>> http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/sixth-annual-summer-of-code-flexes-some.html
>> and finally a good seed for OSGeo-women:
>> http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/Online/Blogs/ROSE-Blog-Rikki-s-Open-Source-Exchange/FOSS-Mentoring-A-tribute-to-female-mentors
>> What about a mentoring program like Debian-women's?
>> http://women.debian.org/mentoring/
>> feedback is most welcome!
>> cheers,
>> Anne
>> --
>> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Anne_Ghisla
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>> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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