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

Anne Ghisla a.ghisla at gmail.com
Sun Sep 12 04:57:32 PDT 2010

On Sun, 2010-09-12 at 11:04 +0200, Alan Palazzolo wrote:
> 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.

Hi all,

the topic is delicate, as it involves deeply personal beliefs. Good to
see that it evolves smoothly :)

Well said, Chris. When I wrote the mail I feared that the impression
could be "let women help women and get rid of the guys' monopoly on the
scene". It's not the case, neither is the aim of D-W mentoring program,
that is open to male mentors as well.
What you said about feeling discriminated reinforces discrimination is
true when the scenario remains static. Let me add that the present
underrepresentation of women in OSGeo is not definitive, and the goal of
the first discussions on the topic is to raise awareness, express our
thoughts, maybe with wrong words. I'd be happy to see that the situation
is not as bad as in other fields, but I think that simply say that women
are not discriminated and let them show up when they want is expeditous.

Alan, I fully agree with your answer. I don't think that having the,
let's say, Greek chapter means discriminating against non-Greeks, and it
aliments the isolation of Greeks. OSGeo-women has been created as a
chapter, similar to local chapters. The final aim is to promote
participation of women in OSGeo and, as Chris said, get to a point where
we forget about the gender together with race/religion/etc..

That said, the mentoring program is not specific for women, so feel free
to use the idea wherever it can be useful.

cheers all, have a nice Sunday :)

> --
> 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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