How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

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plodder
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by plodder » Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:24 pm

When a group is marginalised they’ll tend to go for things like altruism in lieu of being able to get self advancement. If you broaden participation then altruism won’t seem like such an attractive option.

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Fishnut
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by Fishnut » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:16 am

plodder wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:24 pm
When a group is marginalised they’ll tend to go for things like altruism in lieu of being able to get self advancement. If you broaden participation then altruism won’t seem like such an attractive option.
Evidence?
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Tessa K
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by Tessa K » Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:31 am

Fishnut wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:31 pm

The question isn't "why aren't women birdwatching?" (they are) but "what aren't women engaging with formal birdwatching events and organisations?". And this is just one version of the same question we see for many different organisations - men see women not engaging and think we're not interested when in fact what we're not interested in is engaging with hostile environments that make us feel like we have to spend our entire time justifying our presence and never get to actually enjoy ourselves.
This was the case with Skeptics in the Pub many years ago. The myth that only men are interested in science and evidence-based thinking is one that a subset of men liked to perpetuate. When I started going I was often the only woman in a room of white men. It took time and effort from a few of us to make it more welcoming so that when women did turn up they felt comfortable, as well as BAME and LGBT people. We also sought out more female and BAME speakers. Some SitP groups had reputations for being combative arenas for white men with no social skills but London SitP managed to escape that.

We also publicized strict rules about behaviour to make it more inclusive. But inclusivity and a welcoming environment aren't a one-time achievement, it needs constant policing and there were issues with one or two men that came to light. Unpleasant attitudes and behaviour are more prevalent in older men who have never needed to change but the younger ones can slip into boys club attitudes too.

On the flip side, the crafting group I used to go to must have been quite intimidating for (some) men. We did have a few male attendees, brave souls. Not the same as rape and hostile behaviour, I know, but any single sex group needs to consider what barriers it puts up, deliberately or not.

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Fishnut
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by Fishnut » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:22 am

Tessa K wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:31 am
We also publicized strict rules about behaviour to make it more inclusive. But inclusivity and a welcoming environment aren't a one-time achievement, it needs constant policing and there were issues with one or two men that came to light.
By coincidence I attended a digital inclusion workshop yesterday and they made this very point - that having a code of conduct is really important but it's not an edict set in stone, it's a "conversation" among community members and the expectation should be that it is periodically updated.
Tessa K wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:31 am
On the flip side, the crafting group I used to go to must have been quite intimidating for (some) men. We did have a few male attendees, brave souls. Not the same as rape and hostile behaviour, I know, but any single sex group needs to consider what barriers it puts up, deliberately or not.
Totally agree with this.

I think it's often very difficult for groups, particularly close-knit ones, to recognise how exclusionary they can come across to outsiders. It takes a level of self-reflection and examination that can be challenging.
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shpalman
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by shpalman » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:01 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:31 am
Fishnut wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:31 pm

The question isn't "why aren't women birdwatching?" (they are) but "what aren't women engaging with formal birdwatching events and organisations?". And this is just one version of the same question we see for many different organisations - men see women not engaging and think we're not interested when in fact what we're not interested in is engaging with hostile environments that make us feel like we have to spend our entire time justifying our presence and never get to actually enjoy ourselves.
This was the case with Skeptics in the Pub many years ago. The myth that only men are interested in science and evidence-based thinking is one that a subset of men liked to perpetuate. When I started going I was often the only woman in a room of white men. It took time and effort from a few of us to make it more welcoming so that when women did turn up they felt comfortable, as well as BAME and LGBT people. We also sought out more female and BAME speakers. Some SitP groups had reputations for being combative arenas for white men with no social skills but London SitP managed to escape that.

We also publicized strict rules about behaviour to make it more inclusive. But inclusivity and a welcoming environment aren't a one-time achievement, it needs constant policing and there were issues with one or two men that came to light. Unpleasant attitudes and behaviour are more prevalent in older men who have never needed to change but the younger ones can slip into boys club attitudes too.

On the flip side, the crafting group I used to go to must have been quite intimidating for (some) men. We did have a few male attendees, brave souls. Not the same as rape and hostile behaviour, I know, but any single sex group needs to consider what barriers it puts up, deliberately or not.
I assume you're not actually suggesting there was "rape and hostile behaviour" at Skeptics in the Pub?

What about an environment which is populated mainly by women, like ballet? Turns out it's dominated by men too.
Boys in ballet hold the power from a young age. Studios are eager to recruit them, teachers are excited to train them, and female classmates know they need to get close to them.

At SAB – one of the most competitive pre-professional programs in the country – Waterbury remembers how stressed girls were about partnering with the best boys during class so they could be noticed; there were 30 girls, but only 10 boys. She spoke of a company dancer who was known for sleeping with male co-workers in exchange for a leg up in partnering.
My own hobby of swing dancing isn't quite so imbalanced but there's still more women than men doing it, to the extent that there's usually a waiting list of women wanting to join a class since there aren't enough men to go around, or the women have to pair up and take turns to be the leader. Is it better or worse than birding when it comes to the behaviour of creepy old men? I have literally no idea since I am not a woman who has done both things.
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Herainestold
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by Herainestold » Sat Feb 20, 2021 4:47 pm

It seems like in birding you could split into gender affinity groups, with women, trans and LGBTQ+ people in one group and males in another. That should eliminate the harrassment problem. That might be more difficult in swing dancing. I'm not involved in swing dancing but I have some close friends who are involved. It looks like a very cliquey community that is difficult for outsiders to feel welcome, no matter the gender.

plodder
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by plodder » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:16 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:16 am
plodder wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:24 pm
When a group is marginalised they’ll tend to go for things like altruism in lieu of being able to get self advancement. If you broaden participation then altruism won’t seem like such an attractive option.
Evidence?
No, but there’s a logic there. Altruism is something dispossessed people do a lot of, less so our glorious winners in life. I know the stats show poor people donate disproportionately more to charity for example.

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Tessa K
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by Tessa K » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:58 am

shpalman wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:01 pm


I assume you're not actually suggesting there was "rape and hostile behaviour" at Skeptics in the Pub?
Not rape, no. But there was some hostile and predatory behaviour by one individual. And sometimes some of the men needed reminders about being overly combative or trying to take over the discussion in the Q&A. Luckily I am a strict host and dealt with the latter swiftly.

I wrote this about the SitP incident https://tessera2009.blogspot.com/2012/0 ... ators.html

It helped with inclusivity that we had two female hosts who took it in turn to present, one from a minority ethnic community (and me). Before that I took on the responsibility of welcoming newbies, especially women, before the event started. I then enlisted another woman who became a regular to do the same. It helps to be visible and doesn't take much effort.

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Cardinal Fang
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by Cardinal Fang » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:32 pm

Hayley Stevens also wrote a good blog post on that incident: https://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/gossip-ske ... ysteryman/

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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:48 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:16 am
plodder wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:24 pm
When a group is marginalised they’ll tend to go for things like altruism in lieu of being able to get self advancement. If you broaden participation then altruism won’t seem like such an attractive option.
Evidence?
plodder's dichotomy between 'altruism' and 'self-advancement' doesn't really apply to this situation anyway, because most of the UK birding scene is volunteer run through a bunch of non-profit organisations. But the prestigious positions within local bird clubs are very frequently occupied by old white dudes and run like a bit of a boys' club, even though at least on paper those would be altruistic roles. I expect local branches of US birding organisations are pretty similar, especially as US birding seems to be even more of a testosterone-fuelled listathon than in the UK. (Anyone watched The Big Year?)

I think it's pretty evident that improving representation of women in birding groups would both better serve the women already in those groups, and help to make the social elements of the scene more inclusive. Similar arguments apply to people of colour, which is what the organisation in the incident involved in this thread was specifically set up to address.
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nezumi
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by nezumi » Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:38 pm

Thanks for inspiring me to join my local sitp. The fact that harrassment and abuse are being taken so seriously has given me confidence to join :)

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Fishnut
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by Fishnut » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:33 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:58 am
shpalman wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:01 pm


I assume you're not actually suggesting there was "rape and hostile behaviour" at Skeptics in the Pub?
Not rape, no. But there was some hostile and predatory behaviour by one individual. And sometimes some of the men needed reminders about being overly combative or trying to take over the discussion in the Q&A. Luckily I am a strict host and dealt with the latter swiftly.

I wrote this about the SitP incident https://tessera2009.blogspot.com/2012/0 ... ators.html

It helped with inclusivity that we had two female hosts who took it in turn to present, one from a minority ethnic community (and me). Before that I took on the responsibility of welcoming newbies, especially women, before the event started. I then enlisted another woman who became a regular to do the same. It helps to be visible and doesn't take much effort.
The comments on your piece are so depressing
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by FlammableFlower » Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:35 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:33 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:58 am
shpalman wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:01 pm


I assume you're not actually suggesting there was "rape and hostile behaviour" at Skeptics in the Pub?
Not rape, no. But there was some hostile and predatory behaviour by one individual. And sometimes some of the men needed reminders about being overly combative or trying to take over the discussion in the Q&A. Luckily I am a strict host and dealt with the latter swiftly.

I wrote this about the SitP incident https://tessera2009.blogspot.com/2012/0 ... ators.html

It helped with inclusivity that we had two female hosts who took it in turn to present, one from a minority ethnic community (and me). Before that I took on the responsibility of welcoming newbies, especially women, before the event started. I then enlisted another woman who became a regular to do the same. It helps to be visible and doesn't take much effort.
The comments on your piece are so depressing
Definitely.

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Tessa K
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Re: How not to tackle gender disparities in your community

Post by Tessa K » Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:58 am

FlammableFlower wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:35 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:33 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:58 am


Not rape, no. But there was some hostile and predatory behaviour by one individual. And sometimes some of the men needed reminders about being overly combative or trying to take over the discussion in the Q&A. Luckily I am a strict host and dealt with the latter swiftly.

I wrote this about the SitP incident https://tessera2009.blogspot.com/2012/0 ... ators.html

It helped with inclusivity that we had two female hosts who took it in turn to present, one from a minority ethnic community (and me). Before that I took on the responsibility of welcoming newbies, especially women, before the event started. I then enlisted another woman who became a regular to do the same. It helps to be visible and doesn't take much effort.
The comments on your piece are so depressing
Definitely.
Sometimes when someone speaks out it frees other people to add their experiences both in the originally mentioned circumstance and in others. This is when people who haven't been affected or haven't noticed the problem realise the scale of it, that it's not one or two isolated incidents that they can comfortably ignore. A similar thing happened with #MeToo.

(I'm not saying people here were maintaining a comfortable ignorance)

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