One of the things that keep coming up is Woman in I.T. This has been a particular interest of mine for years BUT we seem to constantly think that the way to support woman in IT and mitigate the potentially hostile environments is to get them all in a room together.
Just to give you a bit of context, I have, at times, been in scenarios where being male is a problem. Just as a case in point, being in that breakfast would potentially be that very same scenario.
So, what is the problem? During a conversation with someone she was talking about the idea of being an older woman with long hair. I never even imagined that this might be an issue... for anyone. And she described having met a guy who said he had nothing against long hair but was of the opinion that they should dye their hair. What an absolute load of bollocks!
So there are people out there who have absolutely no qualms about making a place hostile. I'd say that it's completely unfair to paint this as males being the problem. There are times where males are also quite uncomfortable.
So, to me, it's a culture problem. I interjected in a conversation discussing the value of the breakfast and asked, "Is this not something that could be more inclusive? Could males not also be supporting woman in I.T.?". The answer back surprised me - from a woman - "most of the woman wouldn't speak. The presence of males would inhibit discussion".
Wow! So the culture is to reject support. I remember a few months ago going into a kebab shop and a group of Islamic woman were sitting around discussing their religion in relation to Christianity (particularly from a gender platform). The bit which I found interesting, from the bits that I was overhearing, was that they were sitting there reinforcing each others ideas. They weren't attempting to get things from another point of view. They already had an idea.
So, the purpose of this post - am I off kilter? Is there something I'm missing? Can males really not be part of this dicussion?