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

Simon Cropper scropper at botanicusaustralia.com.au
Sun Sep 12 17:09:34 PDT 2010

On Sunday 12 September 2010 4:34:22 pm Chris Puttick 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.

Hi All,

I note that this conversation has been pretty active over the last few days so 
expect that most of my contributions may already have been addressed.

Personally, I am against and 'positive-discrimination' or assistance for any 
single perceived group or sub-group. 

It is my opinion that any organisation only needs to look at one thing -- does 
it have in place anything that would preclude participation by any group. From 
my observations, I have not seen with OSGeo any organisational ethic, policy 
or whatever that specifically excludes any group. In fact, I find OSGeo open to 
all and sundry, like all the Open Source Communities I have been involved.

Having a particular group that targets assistance to women, does just what 
Chris says, reinforces the "mistaken belief that all members of one 
identifiable group are inherently unable or less able to do a thing".

This type of gender-based group is not the same as a local chapter. As GIS is 
primarily a spatial tool, local chapters arise as people address local issues 
related to data, Spatial Reference Systems, government agencies, local laws, 
etc; and provide support for one another in real time (i.e. all group members 
are in same time zone).

A gender-based group is just that. A group designed to promote a particular 
gender. I am strongly against the creation of such a group. We are as Chris 
amply states all human -- lets leave it at that!

Cheers Simon

	Simon Cropper
	Botanicus Australia Pty Ltd
	PO Box 160 Sunshine 3020
	P: 03 9311 5822. M: 041 830 3437
	W: http://www.botanicusaustralia.com.au

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