Think Tank Open Diversity Summit - Why women matter?


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The presentation supported the speech by Gabriele Ruffatti, Engineering Group's Architectures and Consulting Director and founder of the SpagoWorld initiative, at the at Open World Forum, taking place in Paris on 30th September and 1st October 2010. The speech introduces the Think Tank – Open Diversity Summit on the topic "Why women matter?".

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Think Tank Open Diversity Summit - Why women matter?

  1. 1. Think Tank – Open Diversity Summit Why women matter?
  2. 2. Importance of women values in FLOSS Gabriele Ruffatti Engineering Group, founder of SpagoWorld initiative September 30th, 2010 2
  3. 3. A last minute suggestion Last Tuesday, at the Paris Open Source Think Tank, I grabbed the following sentence from a conversation: « If you have to promote open source, you must tell stories to potential adopters and you must put emotion into your stories ». OSS market is dominated by men. Now my question is: Are men really able tu put emotion into their stories? 3
  4. 4. Introduction I’m an IT manager leading a FLOSS initiative including four projects (the best known is SpagoBI). I’ve led a development team for 30 years. In the 80’s male/female percentage was 50-50 With new technologies the women rate started to decrease. Currently I'm leading a 43-persons team, 25% women. Good enough? 4
  5. 5. Figures IT sector (*) women FLOSS women (%) Employment FLOSSPOLS, 2006 Women in High-tech KIS 2,4% FLOSS Communities 1,5 (proprietary sw) 28 My company 2000 33% (Engineering) out of 6282 (29%) Leading communities BoD 1 out of 19 0,5 Mgt Office 2 out of 6 3,3 Decision Making BoD 0 out of 20 0 Staff 7 out of 22 3,2 Board of 500 top Officiers 3 out of 89 0,3 #13 Fortune companies 1 out of 12 8,3 BoD Board of EU 500 top 8,5% Staff 4 out of 16 25 companies My FLOSS My company 9% (Engineering) 1 out of 11 9 out of 30 30 Pay Gap (**) 5 out of 12 41 Salary of female technicians / 26% professionals (private sect.) less Other (**) 14 out of 17 82 (*) EU Women in ICT report, 2009 (**) a woman as project leader 5
  6. 6. Stereotypes Feminine traits Masculine traits Supporting Problem Solving Rewarding Influencing Upward Mentoring Delegating Networking Consulting Team Building Inspiring Source: Catalyst, 2005 True or false?  Men and women are basically alike in terms of personality, cognitive ability and leadership. The similarities are greater than the differences.  Males and females from childhood to adulthood are more alike than different on most psychological variables.  Gender differences seem to depend on the context in which they are measured. Children suffer the consequence of exaggerated claims of gender differences. American Psychological Association, 2005 6
  7. 7. My poll: feminine traits  Multi-tasking  Focus on co-operation toward a collective result  Healthy (unextreme) competition  Holistic view  Self-analysis, introspection about her own results  Perseverance and patience  Courage and resoluteness  Be able to adapt herself, to change targets accepting the change (especially for working mothers)  Focus on solving a problem today instead of laying a foundation for an exchange tomorrow: men are more interested in results & power, women in the realization of a project  Ability to see, listen and build relationships and in inspiring collaboration  Capability to fulfill an objective and achieve a result also beyond job boundaries. Source: 6 respondents out of 12 women in my corporate unit Some of these attitudes don’t help for affirmation and visibility (i.e.: FLOSS meritocratic model) 7
  8. 8. Sentiment and rationality Femininity gathers the opposite that the thinking way of man divides. In senti – ment (the conscious subjective experience of emotions), a mental activity keeps together (syn, greek term) the opposite. Men enter that sentimental system only at intervals. Men and women use rationality and sentiment in a different way This difference must enlarge in order to allow the masculine rationality - base of our cultural heritage - face its opposite: the feminine vision of the world that has no confidence with clear boundary lines. Source: U. Galimberti, Italian philosopher 8
  9. 9. What’s the target? Following a sole technological vision, men will maintain the leadership over time. Following a cognitive vision, women overperform due to their holistic, systemic and relational system. Real questions are:  is Information Technology a particular context separated by the digital world, or is it included in a cognitive ecosystem?  are industries for-profit organizations or collective cognitive enteprises?  is FLOSS a technological activity (and a business activity in last years), or is it a way to actively participate in an informed way to a cognitive ecology? A clear target is crucial to success! All involved actors (and external audience) must be aware of it! 9
  10. 10. Why women matter IT sector, from a pragmatic point of view  Women influence or control upward 80% of consumer spending decisions.  In a world dominated by relationships, collective decisions making and consumer spending, women are innately better suited than men. It’s true, probably, but it’s not my point FLOSS, from a non-technological point of view A real community relationship refers to a relationship between lovers, where a lover reflects itself (its unknows inner desiders) in the other. A community can stably and constantly grow only if members love it: they are aware of the basic emotional/cognitive relations existing among single individuals or in a group.  Participation, contributions, trustworthy relations and empathy are crucial. Feminine traits matter with team and community building and collaborative development 10
  11. 11. Not only more women Is gender diversity the issue? Or does it deal with the different gender behavioural traits? Differencies are not the issue. Anyway, if they exist, they are not deficiencies, but potential values and opportunities to learn. FLOSS communities and project teams need peer-support, mentoring, rewarding, networking, team-building, solidarity, empathy, inclusion, problem solving, …. Do this behavioural traits belong to women exclusively? We need more women's values in people In other words, we need a wide mix and match of different behavioural traits in people, increasing the ones dealing with team building and co-operation and decreasing the importance of competition and self-promotion. We must revise the FLOSS model, its values and practical rules. FLOSS was founded by men. We need more women to revise it! 11
  12. 12. Main barriers Understanding the barriers to women is crucial to find a new way to involve them and to foster different attitudes. IT sector  IT is a boy thing: girls tend to eliminate consideration of a job in IT in early stages  Particularly in IT, language is masculine and not inclusive  Sexual stereotypes are alive  IT is one of the most competitive industries  The imbalance of power in IT industry drives women away  Men are more comfortable with men when promoting someone  Lack of commitment both in men and women. FLOSS  It is basically a technological activity  It tends to increase the competition in the IT sector  Its meritocratic model rewards technological & business results  It is the hackers’ world; clever men don’t waste their time to teach to entrants  Its model is open within its close boundaries  Lack of commitment to women involvement in its boards and communities. 12
  13. 13. What could help? Recommendations Education  change the image of the IT world, nurture real values in new generations, attract more girls. IT industry  improve the number of women at all levels as a way to review corporate values and organization  adopt new organizational model, look at how people achieve their results instead of at the results themselves, plan for free time for employees, including mothers  bridge (or reduce, at least) decisional and pay gap  commit all actors to do it. FLOSS communities  attract more women to FLOSS communities & projects  commit boards to include women  review rewarding and governance models  focus on real values: FLOSS is a part of the cognitive ecosystem. 13
  14. 14. The perspective Our actions are often part of a very restricted vision of the world; this doesn’t allow ourselves to understand the world itself and to find the real meaning of our being. We must enter others’ world, in order to compare stories, to learn to live in new places, to go along unknown paths, to see beyond our horizon. It’s all about FLOSS in an ecological (non-technological) vision! It’s all about women and men together! If all the involved actors don’t share this vision, any effort is useless. 14