The Ada Initiative
I’m really thrilled to see the Ada Initiative! I’m a guy, but I play music with two very talented female musicians. Watching them destroy day in and day out, writing amazing music and mastering their instruments while not getting the respect they deserve is very motivating when it comes to supporting things like the Ada Initiative. While I don’t have the same experience in technology in terms of seeing sexism at work, I have definitely seen it happen and it is really wrong.
Also, I don’t think that sexist actions mean you really have a deep seated lesser opinion of the opposite sex. This goes for many small subtle acts of bigotry. But that is the point. There are many times we don’t realize we are acting like a bigot. We say something or act a certain way towards someone without recognizing its potential offensiveness. This is not about simply not offending people either. I know I’ve said things that have been lame without even realizing it, only to be given a kind pass. But that doesn’t mean it was OK or reflects what I really think. What it does reflect is that there are accepted forms of bigotry in our society that are really easy to maintain. It takes practice and awareness to recognize it and make it change.
Finally, I hope it is clear that this kind of thinking is not necessarily based around feelings. When you demean someone else, it doesn’t matter why, you are removing their opportunities. The Ada Initiative is a great example. There are companies everywhere that will only hire people who care about open source software and have tried to contribute. By avoiding the effort to include these women, you not only hurt their stature in the community, you also are hurting their career opportunities.
I’m really excited about The Ada Initiative. As a society we can only become better by recognizing our flaws and correcting them. Bigotry is a flaw because it hides reality. Making an effort to include more women in technology is not about simply balancing numbers, but revealing more talent and growing abilities that might otherwise not see the exposure they should.