Hi everyone. This is my first post on lines. I've been reading for a while around here and I must agree that it seems like one of most civil and articulated online communities I've seen. And in light of increasing cyberbullying and trolling online, I seriously appreciate that.
I've been sensitive to feminist issues all my life and for the last 15 years been also active in one way or another in various minority-empowerment projects. For example as a programme coordinator in a local hackerspace I invited and helped coordinate a nomadic women-only electronic tech festival (called ETC) and clashed heavily with local community of white-male geeks on the issue why are they excluded from the workshops. As another example I'm currently running a small label where I try to encourage more releases from female electronic music producers, ideally arriving at 50/50 ratio. In a country of only 2 million people you can imagine that is not that easy. And precisely, questions arising from that asumption have been asked before. Why are there less women in tech-heavy disciplines: engineers, programming, sound production? There's been so much written on that topic and also different approches towards change. And possibly in this community there is space to discuss that.
Currently I feel like there are two main approaches toward making a change in the direction of ensuring circumstances where women (and also poc and non-binary folk) can be/feel empowered to work with technology and music (and other supposedly "non-female" activities): a) creating safe spaces and b) inclusivity without positive discrimination.
Safe spaces are workshops, meet-ups, festivals, music compilations, etc.. that are exclusively women-only. Inclusivity without positive discrimination are events where there is 50% representation of women without any extra public declaration of the fact.
I personaly think both of these are needed in equal ammounts. While people who were told all their life that because of their biological gender are not capable of tinkering with cables and soldering and have been subtly insulted through jokes on a daily basis really need places where they can learn tech in a relaxed atmosphere without a "male gaze" or condescending comments on "stupid" questions, I think they also need to be 'judged' on equal grounds: for example a festival of male and female performers in equal numbers without a declared female- or queer- "friendliness".
On a question about why there are very few females on a forum like lines, I would think that it is a consequence of general state of society and normalisation of patriarchy (and hetero-normativity) in media and public life. Yes, it seems like being "nice" is not enough to create a diverse community in times when ... well ... in EU parliament you can have an MP publicly exclaiming that women do not deserve an equal pay because they are not as smart as men (to give a non-US-centric non-T-word example). To create a diverse community work has to be done in this direction - we, white cis males, need to reach out and work hard on inviting, empowering, enabling, listening, safeguarding, even fighting - for equality and diversity.
Sorry for a longer post. Just wanted to add my thoughts on the issue.