PHP Town Hall

Phil, Ben and a super-star guest answer questions and talk about current events in the PHP world.

Episode 25: Girls Aren't Any Different

Talking about feminism in tech is always difficult. This episode was quite a heated discussion with Kayla Daniels and Jessica D’Amico discussing their opinions about women-orientated groups such as PHPWomen and Girls Who Code.

Kayla wrote an excellent article titled Not a shiny unicorn, in which she made several points.

  • “Somehow, [being female] means I am some kind of oddity. I’ve been met with skepticism, mistrust, and probably the most insulting reaction; complete shock and awe.”
  • “If I’m offered something, I want it to be because of my accomplishments, and not my sex.”
  • “Bottom line: Girls aren’t any different. We’re different because people keep making us different.”

Essentially saying that specialist groups that try to help nurture female involvement can be seen - by some - to be a little patronising, like girls need special help, etc. Also whenever people freakout in the office because there is “a girl” there, things get weird. Suddenly swearing is completely frowned upon and people rush over to appologise to the nearest girl in earshot when it happens. These sorts of things have been noticed by Phil several times in his attending of conferences, workplace situations, etc, so it looked like an interesting topic to discuss.

Now, we could of just invited Kayla on to talk about it but an hour-long episode of people sitting around agreeing with each other does not really make for a representative conversation, or interesting listening. Friend of the show Jess joined us, and she had some different opinions about the situation.

Due to poor preperation on Phils side (he spent the two hours before the show cooking some epic dinner for his Dad after forgetting about the show) followed by some poor moderation Ben and Phil, the animated conversation was not the most productive that could have happened.

Since then, several productive things have happened. Kayla has released an amazing site called Code Manifesto which addresses some of the points made.

Furthermore, a site Phil forgot to mention entirely was Days Since Last Tech Incident, which is the answer to the question he asked: where can people find out more information about incidents so they can learn to keep an eye out for them, and attempt to help solve the problems or stop them happening again.

Ben and Phil both appologize for poor moderation leading to a tricky episode, and we appologize for how long it took us to get the episode up. A further appology for the lack of video, but we had to edit this one a bit and the video didn’t make it.

Episode 26 is already recorded and will be up in a few days, and Episode 27 is happening tonight, live on Google Plus as always.

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