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CODE4LIB  December 2012

CODE4LIB December 2012

Subject:

Re: Beyond mentoring

From:

Mita Williams <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 1 Dec 2012 20:11:31 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (117 lines)

I'm sorry I have been absent from this and recent related discussions at
code4lib - but I think the conversations have been great and I appreciate
them.

++ Karen and especially on this point: "Even better will be for us to look
out for each other: "Hey, x said that ten minutes ago and you nixed it --
now that z has said the same thing it's called a "good idea." I think we
should give some credit to z."

I have had a colleague tell me on a couple of occasions that he believes
that he has received preferential treatment (as compared to myself) from
our IT Department because of gender differences. But he told me this after
the fact and privately. That's not nearly as helpful as stating the same in
public to those involved and in the moment.

I have been meaning to read Unlocking the Clubhouse for sometime now and I
think it's time I gave it a read.

Thanks everyone.


On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM, Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> As a chronic "persister" (defined: one who persists even when not
> encouraged: thanks to Arianna for pointing to: Unlocking the Clubhouse
> http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/**47054696<http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/47054696>)
> I'm going to persist with this thread even though it hasn't gotten picked
> up in the discussion. (Although it has gotten some nice tweets. Thanks!)
>
> We started with Bess's call for an anti-harassment policy. Harassment of
> any kind is obviously not acceptable, so creating a policy and enforcing
> its intent is unquestionable. But harassment is the overt form of something
> that is mostly covert. You can have a perfectly polite society with deep
> inequalities (Victorian England, anyone?). One of the advantages of aging
> out of the category of "possibly sexually interesting" is that the overt
> form dies down considerably.[1] The covert inequality remains.
>
> The discussion here of mentoring and of deciding who gets to be in the
> code4lib community is a great start for moving beyond just preventing
> harassment. I would like to see us develop more comfort with *anyone* being
> able to say: I don't feel like I'm being treated equally. (It will probably
> not be worded that way.) Even better will be for us to look out for each
> other: "Hey, x said that ten minutes ago and you nixed it -- now that z has
> said the same thing it's called a "good idea." I think we should give some
> credit to z. [Everyone turns and nods admiringly at z.] " This is behavior
> that is encouraged in "how to be a better manager" lessons, but it's a kind
> of management that we should practice with colleagues wherever we are. Make
> sure that everyone is acknowledged for their contributions.
>
> This is much more complex than dealing with overt harassment, but it is
> what builds self-confidence and visibility for members of the community who
> may otherwise feel less accepted. It only works, however, if those who
> speak up are respected, not rejected. Speaking up definitely rocks the
> boat, and the response can be quite negative. That's what we have to to
> persist against, until both speakers and those spoken-to can be comfortable
> with this process.
>
> kc
>
> [1] http://fatuglyorslutty.com gathers grotesquely inappropriate messages
> in gaming, but I admit that I enjoy the witty rejoinders -- rather
> cathartic. I learned about this over the #1reasonwhy tsunami of posts that
> has been on Twitter the past 48 hours or so.
>
>
> On 11/28/12 2:28 PM, Karen Coyle wrote:
>
>> c4l'rs
>>
>> Obviously mentoring is a great idea, but it implies a pairing of
>> skilled/less-skilled folks and therefore makes me a bit uneasy in our
>> current context (although no one has said this) because it seems to imply
>> that if we bring up the skills of women they will be treated equally. In
>> fact, we have ample proof that this is not the case. Therefore, I want to
>> promote a concept beyond mentoring: promoting. Also known as: giving credit
>> where credit is due. Make sure that we equally acknowledge and celebrate
>> the technical achievements of women. We already have women doing great
>> geeky stuff, but it's kind of like Mitt Romney's "binder full of women" --
>> they aren't visible.
>>
>> Sounds easy, right? I think we'll all find that it's harder than it
>> sounds, but we should be making a conscious effort.
>>
>> Let me give a personal anecdote. I was doing some consulting for a large
>> organization, and we got to the point that we needed an XML schema for our
>> metadata. The organization had an uber-geek, and so the task was given to
>> him. After a considerable while (about 2 months) we started pushing for
>> this schema, and finally met with uber-geek who said some strange things
>> about some theory of XML, and essentially we intuited that he didn't know
>> XML schema, was taking a strange path in terms of learning it, and it was
>> clear we wouldn't be getting our schema from him. I went home and wrote the
>> schema (thank you O'Reilly!). Now, you might think that I would have earned
>> geek points for that. But I didn't. In fact, no mention was ever made of
>> the fact that I, rather than uber-geek, wrote the schema. I suspect this
>> would have been an embarrassment to all who looked up to uber-geek, being
>> "bested" by a girl. I don't know how this would have gone were I carrying a
>> Y chromosome, but my guess is that the outcome would have been different,
>> that a sub-uber guy would have been given some credit (while still saving
>> face for uber-geek). This type of scenario plays out many, many times a
>> day. I'm sure it doesn't only happen to women, but it happens to women
>> regularly enough (think about the pay differential that we still live with)
>> that it's quite discouraging.
>>
>> So I see it as my duty, and hope some will join me, to make sure that
>> women's efforts are recognized, publicized, and, if necessary, made
>> "in-your-face" until women in tech achieve the visibility they deserve.
>>
>> kc
>>
>>
> --
> Karen Coyle
> [log in to unmask] http://kcoyle.net
> ph: 1-510-540-7596
> m: 1-510-435-8234
> skype: kcoylenet
>

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