Thursday, October 11, 2012

A primer on Sexism in the Tech Industry

Net Magazine have printed a great primer covering concepts for sexism in the tech industry including common terms used by geek feminists and a link to a number of efforts to combat this issue (including our friends over at the Ada Initiative)

Not everyone is always on the same page when it comes to the terms we use in these debates, so let's start there:
  • Feminism: the simple belief that women deserve to have the same social, economical and political rights as men, be treated equally and fairly, and given equal opportunities. Modern (third-wave) feminists make it even simpler: fair and actual equality for all, regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, religion, age, and sexuality.
  • Privilege: Receiving benefits in life, however subtle or invisible they may seem to you, simply for belonging to a group you didn't work hard for to get in. In today's Western society, being male, white and straight gives you three huge privileges over everyone else. More on that in a bit.
  • Positive action: Often incorrectly labelled 'positive discrimination', positive action is a measure imposed (usually by government) to enforce a change in the ratio of certain groups in systems. This act is the acknowledgment of the scientific and historical evidence that natural social progress moves too slowly, requiring overseeing entities to intervene (temporarily) as a way of speeding up this progress – so that we may actually enjoy the improvements in our lifetimes.
  • Discrimination: Prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
  • Prejudice: Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Since positive action is based on both reason and actual experience, the label 'positive discrimination' (and the subsequent cries of "it's still discrimination!") is inaccurate and deceitful.
  • Meritocracy: A culture or society in which power is given to people based on their proven abilities, as opposed to wealth, background, privilege, and so forth.
  • Rape culture: The assessment of how today's society makes light of rape – a physically and emotionally painful, and often traumatic and violent crime – which significantly contributes to the mistreatment of women by making their mistreatment a seemingly accepted practice. Rape jokes and their ilk contribute heavily to this

    More at

    1 comment:

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