I usually feel bad about it. For 7 years I could have been supporting women in technology. It seemed the easiest way to get by at the time. Was I being a coward? Maybe I was making it all up?
Then there are days like today, where a I get a gentle reminder as to where it all started. To the left is a screenshot of an #plone IRC chat with someone who was just completely lost in their task (probably still is). Many of us were helping out this person and at some point they moved it to a private conversation. Fine - that happens a lot.
Click the image to get a "x-large" more readable version. I'll wait...
I'm not posting this to complain* - in fact I see it as a victory. I have no hard feelings and a simple correction not only took us back to business but raised the standard for getting help from that point forward.
Rather, I want people to understand why it's important for groups like PloneChix to exist. Diversity is scarce in the community and dealing with it is still new to many people. And guess what? The only way to make things better is to be more visible and pull through awkward moments like this.
It's easy to dismiss this as "not a Plone problem" when it's plone "users" that are the offenders but that is a cop out. If someone is new to helping out on IRC and is treated like this, we risk permanently losing their help and expertise. If it's normal to have women in IRC, at conferences, etc... then the standard for behavior will be higher to begin with.
So ladies, help me out - I'm tired of dealing with this alone. Take a moment to be seen: get in IRC, go to a conference, talk at a local meetup and invite your friends. One at a time, we can make Plone a stress free place for everyone.
*I spend way too much time arguing with people about whether or not this stuff still exists. Many think that it's a problem of the past because it doesn't happen in public forums or chats anymore. My response is usually "Duh! Of course it doesn't." Most incidents DO go unreported for that exact reason.