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From: Niall Douglas (s_sourceforge_at_[hidden])
Date: 2022-04-07 09:36:44

On 07/04/2022 09:37, Andrey Semashev via Boost wrote:
> On 4/7/22 09:54, Kostas Savvidis via Boost wrote:
>>> On Apr 4, 2022, at 20:43, Vinnie Falco via Boost <boost_at_[hidden]>
>>> the
>>> declining level of activity on the Boost mailing lists and the
>>> declining level of participation in the Boost formal review process.
>>> Both in terms of the number of reviewers, and in terms of the
>>> difficulty in finding a review manager.
>> One way forward might be involving more women. Now and again,
>> a woman posts a patch or a comment but the core participants are all men.
 The Foundation's board
>> is also all male. Google Code also seems to attract an all-male crowd.
>> Women, in particular, are excellent at active networking and will in time
 involve yet other women (and men).
>> How to do it? Next time there is a review, cold-call a colleague or a
 mailing list participant.
> Gender has no bearing in Boost community, and I would very much like it
> to stay this way. If you're good at C++, if you have interesting ideas,
> if you make useful libraries - you are welcome, regardless of gender,
> race or nationality.

There seems to be about a 5-10% stable population proportion of women
over time, very similar proportion to Physics. Many years ago - maybe
ten now? - I did an informal survey at a conference of what puts women
off a career in C++. What I say next is as reliable as that would mean,
plus with a decade of memory corruption.

It's not the technical complexity - actually, that was rated usually as
a positive. It's not toxic masculinity - a few mentioned the C++ male
dominated ecosystem is marginally better than wider society. It's not
outright discrimination, it was mentioned a few misoygnists exist
anywhere you go, and C++ was neither better nor worse in that regard
than elsewhere. However there was a perception of there being a glass
ceiling in terms of promotion into technical specialisation, and much
less so into managerial specialisation. Many commented that they were
sure they didn't get pay rises anything like as much as men, and that
was offputting.

 From what I gathered at the time, the overwhelming feedback was that it
the lack of flexibility shown by employers that put women off. C++
employers want people for at least 40 hours per week. They are usually
flexible about when, but not about how much. I heard several horror
stories of employer mistreatment and intransigence, admittedly they were
all US based, I can't imagine any of that being legal in the EU.

I'm sympathetic to that observation. Yesterday morning I had a sick one
year old to look after while my wife slept. You don't get much high
quality C++ written when there is a one year old actively trying to
choke themselves, pull things down onto themselves, and trying to push
the power button on your computer. I wasn't able to say "my child is
sick, there is nobody else to look after them, so I need to take half a
day at very short notice". Even in the EU, there is no legal obligation
on employers to provide that right, and the EU is probably the most
worker friendly large region anywhere in the world.

Re: Foundation/Conferences/WG21 I can absolutely assure you that every
effort is made to ensure as diverse a board membership as possible, but
there are very few women to choose from, and when asked to serve many
say they can't commit the time (which is the case for most approached
whether male or female). So if a board ends up all male, it's because
there wasn't much alternative. I know for a fact that that lack of
diversity bothers everybody involved.

In any case, I agree with Andrey, I don't want to know anything about a
C++ contributor other than the C++ they have to show me. I also think
that if employers were actually serious about improving diversity, they
could easily do so, but continue to proactively choose to keep the
current situation the way it is. We in open source have very little
power over the economics here because we don't have the power to hire
and fire, and we have no control over the money. We are takers here, not
setters. All that said, god speed on improving the situation.


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