What the hell?
Skud starts off the article discussing why females aren't hackers and ends up by saying that maybe
they can't be and should write documentation, or work on administration, or some other menial task (as viewed by hackers). What is this? If you want to have female hackers, they have to do what the hackers do to be considered hackers. That's the bottom line. If you want to create a watered down version of what a hacker is so we can include women, count me out! I think women can be hackers, and not just the documentor's of these projects and history, in general.
I don't know why women don't excel as hackers. I do know that I have met only a very few women whom I think could qualify. I don't know if it has to do with "Nature" or "Nurture", but only that most of the women I have met cannot create the mental model of a computer or system (whatever that might be, physical or etheral) that is required to become a hacker. My feeling is that it is "Nature" because if it was "Nuture" then it would seem that all males would be capable of being hackers. This is obviously not the case, as some are only capable of being (or only want to be) construction workers or janitors, or whatever. For whatever reason, not all males are capable of this either. But, as I said above, I don't know nor pretend to believe I even have an idea.
My explanation as to why the female hackers (geek chick) that are out there don't receive the recognition they deserve is that that are not willing to "play the games" their male counterparts are willing to do. It has been my experience that if you place any group of males together, they will immediately begin to establish a "pecking order" or power hierarchy. Females do not do this, but rather just seem to work together to get a job done. The males will quickly establish who calls the shots and let them decide what should be done while the females will just try to work together. When males and females are together in the same group, the females generally let the males assume control and immediately assume subordinate roles. Where as, males will jostle for control. The female hackers I have know do not fit this description, they are willing to fight for what they think is right (or is better). This is just my experience.
I have played with this "for real" with my father several years ago when we were both working for grounds maintenance for a local university. We played around with this quite a bit. From our informal study, males could easily take control of a group of people on the same power level if an older male didn't contest. What you essentially have here is a group of people without an established hierarchy. I (as an a young, and 18 year old male) was easily able to move to a control position by jumping in and making decsisions (that were at least marginally correct). We are talking about a completely unimportant situation here; mowing lawns, cleaning gutters, etc. In my group there was an older man (a biker and prison guard, probably in his 40's). Because he didn't give a shit about this job, I was easily able to take control anytime I wanted. If he had challenged me, certainly a quite interesting power struggle would have ensued. My father (as an older male) could take control any time he liked, period. My point here is the difference between the behavior of the males and females in the group. The males established a pecking order while the females just followed along. Is this "Nature" or "Nuture"? I don't know.
Another poster indicated a similar idea (the "big dick" idea), wherby males try to establish who has the largest dick. While this may seem crude, at first, it is essentially the core of the problem. While, in hackerdom, no one can be sure who has the largest dick, it really doesn't matter. What matters, is who is in control. Skud even alluded to the fact that she knows this is the problem in her discussion of the perl mailing lists. This is the same as discussions that go on other mailing lists, it has nothing to do with the issue at hand, but it is rather a power struggle. A power struggle women are not (generally) willing to engage in. While even many males in the group acknowledge that this is a stupid discussion, they understand its signifigance. While some care and some don't, all understand who knows the most.
If women (geek chicks) want to become a part of this, they will either have to attack the situation head on and take on the males in the group, or establish their own projects and prove they are worthy (in proper male fashion :)). Note that males who lose or who are shunned from whatever project they attempt to contribute to, generally start their own project, that they are the leader of, to do whatever it is they wanted to do. Females MUST do the same. They MUST say that whatever they are interested in doing is as importpant (or more important) as other projects. If they are different in emphasis from male dominated projects, so what? They must prove they are worthy in the minds of others and that they are important in general (as would any male dominated project). And that what they develop is BETTER than whatever project they split off from, as would any male.
Unless we are hoping for some external god-like entity to jump in here and say "you must treat female hackers as equal" and that "all females will be treated as males" or that "we must treat all submissions from female programmers as better than all else" , the FEMALES MUST ASSERT THEMSELVES AND THEIR OWN VALUES AND IDEALS in the world that exists!
I am sorry that this is currently a male dominated world, but that is reality. Either you are going to have to conform to and beat the male dominated world, or create your own world. If you create your own world, I think that the male dominated current world will easily be able to accept your new world, as they are really interested in what works best.