women and email

Josh Hayes josh at pogo.cqs.washington.edu
Thu Sep 16 11:16:27 EST 1993

H.F.J.Bligh at uk.ac.nottingham.ccc.vme writes:

>I've just been reading an article in todays 'Guardian' (a British broadsheet
>newspaper) about why so few women (in comparison to men) use email and
>the net. The conclusions seem to be:

[snip, snip]

>3 If you're a woman and admit you're on the net people think you're weird.

Warning: I'm a man, but I'll still relate a few anecdotes on this
matter. I think undergraduate women these days are discouraged
from participating in net.activities by two related factors:

1) The current users are predominantly male and perhaps as a
consequence there's a great deal of misogyny on the net; some
of it blatant and intentional, some of it more subtle and maybe
not so intentional, but it's there. The net can be an uncomfortable
place for a woman to be.

2) Sort of a subset of the above: a fair number of the women I
know who brave the net complain about receiving what is commonly
referred to as "horndog e-mail" - that is, a woman on the net 
is often nearly assaulted by men on the net trying to pick her up.
To my shame, I found this amusing the first time I heard about
it, but as I found it's not an isolated problem, it now makes me
embarrassed to be male sometimes....

In short, the net is largely hostile to women in both passive and
active ways. It's a place where men have traditionally held sway,
and there are a lot of men who like the "clubby" atmosphere.

I would encourage women who feel able, however, to batter down
the doors of that club: sure, it's an "old boy's network" right
now, but if EVERYONE participates, then we're ALL old boys, and
we all benefit....

My two cents, anyway.


   Josh Hayes, Quantitative Sciences HR-20 U of Washington
    josh at pogo.cqs.washington.edu             206 543-5004
               Gone the rainbow, gone the dove

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