Double zing and a hell yeah from me.
I have no real point in this other than to tip the balance back to more men than women here in the comments
Looking forward to WP Candy’s response though
Valid criticism, no doubt. It’s something I can definitely do a better job of on WPCandy.
The first issue of the Quarterly consisted of authors who had the time and availability to take on a risky new project. A large group was pinged, including women in the community, but in the end the dozen or so contributors that ended up in it had the time. That’s no excuse for being lospided that way, but just an explanation. The second issue of the Quarterly, currently underway, should be better in that way.
Regarding the podcasts, I do want to get more WordPress women involved. The current lineup on the shows wasn’t predominantly male on purpose; but I’ll be deliberate about reaching out to more women in the community in the future.
It has been a lot of fun starting up new shows the last few weeks, even though they aren’t perfect yet. Maybe there’s a podcast/show idea we can brainstorm on Siobhan — I’d be super excited to have you more involved.
Thanks for commenting Ryan. I have no doubt that the omission isn’t intentional, but it is pretty obvious and a bit worrying. My biggest concern is that WPCandy is the most popular WordPress news blog and it gives out the impression that the people who matter in WordPress, who are part of the inner circle, are all men. This could be off-putting for women who want to take part in the open source community. After all, there’s a younger generation of coders, designers, bloggers etc who are going to be looking for role models in the WP community and if they were to use WPCandy as their primary WP source then it may be off-putting.
I don’t think that you should be including women just because they are women. But there are plenty of women out there you could invite onto your shows who are qualified and interesting, have masses of experience with WordPress, and are contributors to the community. Some suggestions:
Helen Hou Sandi
Lisa Sabin Wilson
Lorella van Fossen
Or you can check out Andrea’s list for some inspiration: https://twitter.com/#!/andrea_r/wordpress-women
Hey! I’m flattered you included me in this list.
Actually, Ryan and I had talked about an article for the first quarterly. I didn’t have the time that I wanted to put into the article – so I reluctantly decided to back out. I’d be happy to get involved again. Anyway, all that to say: he did reach out to me.
ooo I didn’t know Andera had that twitter list! awesome!
Ryan and I have been in touch about things in the past but we’ve never managed to get it together.
So I really don’t think it’s intentional, but if posting this results in more women appearing on WPCandy that’d be really awesome.
“This could be off-putting for women who want to take part in the open source community. After all, there’s a younger generation of coders, designers, bloggers etc who are going to be looking for role models in the WP community and if they were to use WPCandy as their primary WP source then it may be off-putting.”
C’mon now, really? If you really feel that way when it comes to something you have a whole lot more to worry about than a single website that exists on the internet and what it represents in YOUR opinion.
Maybe if you spent less time worrying about what other sites do and more time making your own site promoting women you’d be happier. That way you’d be a role model for all women developers and you could show them that women can do anything.
a) it is a bigger issue than one site. But start off small, right?
b) I don’t want a website to promote women – women should be an integrated part of the community, not a separate body that need their own promotion.
Well put. @ Jarret I am a 61 year old reader from Virginia just passing by and reading this thread. You have no idea how uninformed you sound.
Oooo hey, there’s my list… Probably needs updating.
“If I Have a Sex Change Can I Join Your Club?”
No – a female can join the club by having something worthwhile to contribute, either for the podcast or for the quarterly, which is suitable for the audience WPCandy targets. Just the same as every male who isn’t yet on the list.
I think this post is bad form – you’re implying that Ryan is *purposefully* ignoring females, and you have no evidence of that accusation. You certainly have evidence that WPCandy contributors are far more significantly represented by males – but that’s no different to the WP community in general. Take the (possibly out of date) list of folks on http://wordpress.org/about/ – 2 females out of 32 people which approaches the tiny fraction your numbers suggest.
IMO, Ryan shouldn’t feel forced to get more women involved, same as he shouldn’t feel the need to get more coloured, gay or disabled folks involved as contributors, unless he is actively seeking out opinions from those sectors. What he should be doing constantly, is finding the most interesting, respected, and knowledgeable people who can give the best contribution to the rest of the community.
WPCandy does focus on females in the community already – yourself (http://wpcandy.com/profiles/siobhan-mckeown), Andrea (http://wpcandy.com/profiles/andrea-rennick), Lisa (http://wpcandy.com/profiles/lisa-sabin-wilson) and Ipstenu (http://wpcandy.com/profiles/ipstenu) are obvious ones, but feel free to look through http://wpcandy.com/coverage to spot more.
The only issue here is the one you’re trying to create by singling out WPCandy – a quiet reminder to Ryan that you have lots to contribute to his target audience (and I know you do) would have been sufficient.
I totally disagree. What you seem to be saying is that if women want to be involved they have to ask, whereas men just get chosen by default. Eh?
If WPCandy wants to represent the community then it should do that. And I think that WPCandy does want to represent the community. Representing the community means having more than just men on there. And I don’t mean having posts about what women are doing, but in actively asking women for their insights and opinions on things, not because they are women but because they are active and prominent community members.
WPCandy is not Ryan’s personal blog where he can do whatever he wants. If he wants to be a proper editor/reporter/journalist then he has a responsibility to be representative. That means being thoughtful about the people who he asks to get involved. I’m afraid that’s just the case, just as it would be in any serious news source. Otherwise it’s just a boys club that promotes a few people.
“if women want to be involved they have to ask, whereas men just get chosen by default. Eh?”
I’m one of the names that appears in your post. To get on the WPCandy podcast, I *did* ask. In fact, my involvement on the site started by sending Ryan an email after he tweeted about needing writers. After writing regularly for a while, I asked to join the podcast because I love listening to podcasts and was excited about the opportunity to be on one myself.
I have no reason to believe that if I was a female and had sent that email that it would have been discarded, and as others have posted earlier in these comments he has reached out to females to participate in projects, it just hasn’t worked out.
From what I know of how WPCandy works, this was a complete coincidence. The people who end up writing/being on podcasts at WPCandy are those who show initiative for it. I no longer regularly contribute to WPCandy (and I hope me writing this doesn’t cause him problems, this is completely my own opinion and he and I haven’t discussed this at all) and as such I am no longer on the podcast.
Your impression seems to be (and please let me know if this is wrong) that Ryan just asks people he likes to participate in his work. While this is true for projects like the Quarterly and editorials, it is less so for the other media. As in my example, it is generally those who ask not those who are asked. I can get you being mad coming at it from the perspective of “He had hundreds of people to choose from and has somehow chosen men every single time.”
For instance, Justin Jones participates quite often on the WPCandy podcasts, but he is a middle school math teacher. WordPress isn’t his chosen profession but he is a hobbyist and likes to do the podcast, so he does them.
Anyways, just felt like chipping in my two cents. I think it is great to get more women involved, I just wanted to clear up what I perceived to be a misconception. Have a nice day!
I should reiterate – I didn’t accuse Ryan of anything. All I did was put some facts and figures into an attractive infographic.
Yeah, you kinda did While you didn’t outrightly say “I hereby accuse you, Ryan, of…”, the article title and the infographic do come across as big flashing accusatory neon signs.
Sigh. You’re really excellent at communication, Siobhan. You surely can’t write a controversial title and post that specifically calls out WPCandy and then be surprised when people interpret this as, well, calling out WPCandy?!
This is semantics. I did call him out, I’ve clearly said that. And yes, that’s why I chose that title. I saw a problem and brought his and other people’s attention to it. It is a problem. It should be addressed.
However, I did not accuse him of being chauvinistic, misogynistic, or of deliberately excluding women.
At worst, I accused him (if we must use the word “accuse”) of being thoughtless.
“WPCandy is not Ryan’s personal blog where he can do whatever he wants. If he wants to be a proper editor/reporter/journalist then he has a responsibility to be representative.” <== Actually, if WP Candy is a news site and has journalistic duties, then his responsibility is towards truthful coverage, not to be "representative" of the demographic schema.
Not gonna comment on what's already been said, regarding the state of women in the WP community. Just on what is and what isn't a journalistic duty. The NY Times, for example, is not under any obligation to "represent" the views of Conservative Americans, and they do not employ a columnist who holds diametrically opposed views to Paul Krugman, for example, despite perhaps at least a third of their readers are actually not politically in common with NYT's editors.
So, WP Candy's duties as a privately owned journalistic enterprise is to provide coverage that (1) is truthful and (2) makes it so that the business survives. That's it! No "represent," as in "speak for" anyone.
You’re conflating two issues here – politics and gender. Politics is a choice, gender is not.
> What you seem to be saying is that if women want to be involved they have to ask, whereas men just get chosen by default.
Not at all – and others have already commented that they went and asked Ryan if they could be involved. What I’m saying is that if *anyone*, male or female, is not chosen, then they should go ask.
> …but in actively asking women for their insights and opinions on things, not because they are women but because they are active and prominent community members.
So, you’re not really worried if someone is chosen because they are a women or not, but because they are active and prominent? Then we’re in agreement.
The implication here is that if people are asked purely because they are active and prominent, and no women are being asked, then there are no active and prominent women. I’m sure we can agree that this isn’t the case. So why aren’t they appearing?
> The implication here is that if people are asked purely because they are active and prominent, and no women are being asked, then there are no active and prominent women.
Your logic is flawed.
It’s because there are *more* active and *more* prominent people (who happen to be males) that WPCandy is working through for the topics they’ve covered so far. Nobody but you is saying that there are *no* active and prominent females.
Give it a month, and WPCandy might cover a podcast topic about the designing of the core UI – in which case Jane, Helen and Chelsea (among others) would all be obvious candidates for being invited on to the show. I’m sure there are other topics where the lead players happen to include females, but those topics haven’t been focused on yet.
I’m not a designer But interesting that that’s where you think that women would actually appear.
> But interesting that that’s where you think that women would actually appear.
Helen – not women per-se, but are you three not part of the UI team?
My thought process started with giving Jane as an example for a core UI topic, and yours and Chelsea’s (and now I think more, Sara’s) name popped into my head. I never said you were designers, only that you are (in my mind at least), prominent folks in the core UI discussion and decision-making process, and therefore ideal candidates for a contributing to a WPCandy piece on that topic.
Another example would be about a WordPress support topic – Ipstenu, Andrea, and Hannah (Automattic Happiness Engineer I believe) would be possible candidates among their male peers.
Gary – that’s not my logic – that’s deductive reasoning:
1. People appear on WP Candy because they are active and prominent
2. Women do not appear on WPCandy
3. Women are not active and prominent
That is an assumption people would naturally make based on 1. and 2. Unfortunately, it leads to people believing something false because women are active and prominent, so it’s matter of managing appearances.
However, the great thing is that by changing 2. into “Women appear on WPCandy”, 3. also changes to “Women are active and prominent.”
If, by raising this, I have spurred Ryan etc into altering 2, so that 3 is altered too I’ll be exceptionally pleased.
Your logic is fundamentally and classically flawed as a propositional fallacy.
Consider alternative conditions to your logic:
1. People appear on WP Candy because they are alive and breathing.
2. Women do not appear on WPCandy
3. Women are not alive and breathing.
Points 1 and 2 might be valid, but they do not compound to form point 3.
Yes Gary, that’s the point I was making.
Your comment, GaryJ, is in bad form. It’s been cleared up that it wasn’t intentional and both sides have acknowledged that. But your comment smacks of “brogrammer”.
My comment was submitted before Siobhan’s initial reply to Ryan’s comment was live on the site.
As it turned out, her “I don’t think that you should be including women just because they are women.” comment is pretty much what my comment was about, so we are somewhat in agreement on that specific.
There are some awesome women in the community, and I’d love to hear from them more, but they need to fight on an equal footing with their male counterparts, and not feel that any one-female should have a greater opportunity to contribute just because they’ll help balance up some representative statistics.
That’s the point Gary – we’re not fighting on equal footing. The stats I cited in my post make it pretty obvious that we have to fight harder than men. Is that the way things should be?
Why do you think you’re not fighting on equal footing?
I’m sorry Gary but your claims that females are that little represented in the WordPress community are very wrong. You can’t just use the about page as an example. If you look at the WordPress community you will find many women doing something worthwhile that if they are asked they would contribute.
As a woman and as someone who is working and playing in the WordPress community it certainly isn’t as lacking in women as WP Candy portrays. It’s also not as Amerciancentric as it tends to get assumed it is
Way I see it this wasn’t done by Siobhan with any agenda and is neither an order or rant just an illustration of a fact and a talking point that many have been saying and none spoke up until she did. That’s a good thing – these things need to be said and looked at. I’ve only seen a positive reaction to it from Ryan which has to be applauded.
> I’m sorry Gary but your claims that females are that little represented in the WordPress community are very wrong.
I never said that. What I did say, was that the particular snapshot of a subset within the community (WPCandy), which is clearly skewed in favour of a very high percentage of males, can also be seen in other one-off snapshots, like the about page. Take a snapshot of mommy-blog theme designers, and I suspect, on gut feeling alone, that the skew will be heavily in the other direction. Lies, damned lies and statistics. The sample size of WPCandy contributors and the about page is too small to extrapolate to the whole community.
> If you look at the WordPress community you will find many women doing something worthwhile that if they are asked they would contribute.
Why should they wait to be asked? If they want to be heard, then take the initiative, as males here have said they have done by asking Ryan if they could get involved.
> Way I see it this wasn’t done by Siobhan with any agenda and is neither an order or rant just an illustration of a fact and a talking point that many have been saying and none spoke up until she did.
Nothing is done without an agenda. I’d be interested to know what point Siobhan was trying to highlight exactly, and why only one WP news site was singled out. As per above, this is hardly conclusive evidence that can categorically point to some systemic chauvinistic behaviour across the whole community, that would indeed need to be looked at and discussed.
> That’s a good thing – these things need to be said and looked at. I’ve only seen a positive reaction to it from Ryan which has to be applauded.
Ryan and I have been in touch about things in the past but we’ve never managed to get it together. So I really don’t think it’s intentional, but if posting this results in more women appearing on WPCandy that’d be really awesome.
Do you know what would have also worked pretty well? An email. With an article you have written for him to post. On Twitter you admitted you thought of privately emailing him. Or a podcast idea. I think he would have jumped at the idea of a “Women of WordPress” roundtable episode to discuss some of these issues. What you’ve done instead is thinly-veiled accuse him of being sexist, and the only way he can respond is exactly how he did. The snarky title and over dramatic info graphic come off as nothing more than link bait. If you were trying to open a dialogue, the tone you set isn’t conducive to real discussion. Only false dilemma.
By introducing statistics you’re basically asking for affirmative action. So, what do you find to be the acceptable percentage of women involved? PS, you forgot to include Brad’s wife who makes a regular appearance in the Aftertaste How about African Americans, who haven’t been well represented at any of the WordCamps I’ve attended?
But seriously, you admitted that you’ve been in contact with Ryan about contributing to the site. Why have you “never managed to get it together”? My WordPress experience consists of about 4 years of hobby sites and ~four WordCamps. Why am I on a podcast? Because I asked to be. I pitched him an idea for a user focused show because I thought the current shows were developer-heavy. I bought a mic and carved time out of my schedule. Bascially, I just did it. Ryan is obviously looking for any half decent idea. If you “couldn’t get it together” I’m curious, do you feel like Ryan was chauvinistic or dismissive you or your ideas, or was it a problem of follow-through / lack of time on your end?
Also, why is WP Late Night so fun to listen to? Because they have chemistry together. They’ve invested time in making relationships with each other at WordCamps and became friends. You can do the same, but few friendships begin well with mudslinging and bullying.
I really think you started out trying to discuss the issues, but the extended metaphor you chose by only using WPCandy as the example was a poor choice. But hey, I did get a chuckle out of the info graphic.
I would also encourage you to re-read Helen Hou-Sandi’s post This title has deliberately been left blank. I appreciate her insight and it challenged me in a few ways when I read it back in February.
That all being said, we’re pretty nice here in the midwest. The first time I even knew you existed was when I was pointed to this article by a friend, in which you have basically publiclly accused me of being a chauvinist “club member,” but reading your site you seem pretty cool. Why don’t you email Ryan and see if we can maybe link up for an episode of The Weekly Theme Show sometime soon? I’m @jjonesftw on Twitter and jjonesftw on Skype.
Disclaimer: While I am a contributer to WPCandy, these are my personal views. I haven’t even spoken to Ryan about this, and it was another friend to pinged me to let me know I was mentioned by name in this article.
Justin, thanks for your thoughtful response – I’ve tried to address the main points:
“I think he would have jumped at the idea of a “Women of WordPress” roundtable episode to discuss some of these issues”
That’s precisely what I don’t want – this is not to highlight women as different and as needing some sort of special panel. Women should be included in any panel because it’s a level playing field.
“What you’ve done instead is thinly-veiled accuse him of being sexist, and the only way he can respond is exactly how he did.”
What I’ve done is start a discussion, which is exactly what I wanted. And given the messages I’ve received on Twitter and via email I’m really pleased I did it. This is bigger than WPCandy and is an issue that ought to be discussed in public, not brushed under the carpet as though it were some personal problem. Believe me, I hate controversy and thought very hard about posting it.
“The snarky title and over dramatic info graphic come off as nothing more than link bait. ”
By saying it’s link bait you’re implying that I did it as some sort of SEO tactic. That totally belittles the issue. This is my personal blog, I don’t really care who visits it, I don’t need links, I don’t need to attract more business/money etc etc. I’m making a serious point, and used a controversial title to get people to discuss it.
“PS, you forgot to include Brad’s wife who makes a regular appearance in the Aftertaste”
So the only women who have appeared are Ryan’s girlfriend or “Brad’s wife”? How do you think that makes women who listen to those podcasts feel? (I believe Brad’s wife is called April though)
“If you “couldn’t get it together” I’m curious, do you feel like Ryan was chauvinistic or dismissive you or your ideas, or was it a problem of follow-through / lack of time on your end?”
Neither of those things – I had the time and the commitment, and Ryan was not chauvinistic or dismissive.
“I would also encourage you to re-read Helen Hou-Sandi’s post This title has deliberately been left blank. I appreciate her insight and it challenged me in a few ways when I read it back in February.”
I have read the post and agree with her. I’m making the same point. Helen doesn’t want people to be like “hey, great, you’re a woman and you’re a developer – that’s awesome.” It’s not necessary to draw attention to the fact she’s a woman. By omitting women from things like WPCandy, we’re drawing attention to the fact that somehow women are different.
“The first time I even knew you existed was when I was pointed to this article by a friend, in which you have basically publiclly accused me of being a chauvinist “club member,””
I didn’t accuse you of anything, and I’m sorry that you have taken it that way. If you feel guilty by association then I’m sincerely sorry.
” but reading your site you seem pretty cool.”
I really am!
“Why don’t you email Ryan and see if we can maybe link up for an episode of The Weekly Theme Show sometime soon?”
Thanks for the offer but the Theme Show is really not my area of expertise. I really would just be on there because I was a woman and that is absolutely to be avoided. There are plenty of excellent female theme designers and developers out there who would be far more insightful.
In any case, this is not about my wanting to appear on a podcast or whatever, I just want to see people of the same gender as me involved.
Finally, a question: why do you think that no women (other than partners) have appeared on the podcasts?
> By omitting women from things like WPCandy, we’re drawing attention to the fact that somehow women are different.
I think this succinctly highlights the differing viewpoints, since the opposite viewpoint here would be:
“By highlighting that women happen to be missing from things like WPCandy, you’re drawing attention the fact that you think women are somehow different.”
And without stalking the people you’ve put in the infographic, no-one has highlighted that gay people are missing, or that there’s an under representation of coloured folks, or people in wheelchairs, or the Irish. Why not?
As for the “Women of WordPress” idea – it’s about who is most knowledgeable about that particular topic and who is part of that WP subset. Clearly women would be the answer here, the same as Dre might be called up for a security topic, Ron / Andrea for multisite stuff, Frederick for plugins / site performance / running a business, and Remkus / Joost for the Dutch WordPress community. We’ve all got our specialities and areas of knowledge, and that’s what makes the differing viewpoints interesting to the overall contribution.
Gary, I can’t respond to all your comments – there are just too many! I want to spend this evening playing my xbox.
My idea to have a women focused podcast episode was more to give a space for discussion about these issues, not a “hey, look what they can do” and a pat on the head kind of thing. Rereading my original comment, I don’t think I communicated that very clearly. Like I said, I really agree with Helen’s points, and a women only show wouldn’t really be helpful.
How do you think the next woman that’s a part of a WPCandy podcast is going to feel? How can she not wonder if she is there as an awesome member of the community, or just because Ryan got in trouble on Twitter and just needs a skirt to fill the quota? Iterviewing Andrea about her work with WordCamp Central after the recent discussions about WordCamp rules has been discussed. Other ideas have been suggested in the IRC room like interviewing the Audrey team to help everyone understand their role in the community (which would include Rose, who Otto and Nacin speak very highly of) and also interviewing Jane about her work and new business.
I really wasn’t being snarky when I asked why it “never worked out.” I’m genuinely curious. I’ve seen Ryan’s inbox, and he has a lot of irons in the fire. What I can tell you is that unless you are very motivated and continue to follow up with Ryan, it will never just work out. One time a reader started forum thread on WPCandy basically asking someone to go check to make sure Ryan wasn’t dead in his apartment because he didn’t post for a while. The regular authors responded saying that Ryan is the only person who can publish articles live to the site, and that at that time he was busy working on the Quarterly. He gets to have that editorial control because it is his site, and his livelihood. I’ve felt the pinch of Ryan’s time, with the show I cohost being bumped a few times because of a camp, or work on the Quarterly, roundtable episode, etc… The current focus on podcasting began this past February, only about three months ago. As another commenter pointed out, it’s statistically possible for Ryan to have chosen people in the WP community at random and have selected all male hosts with a sample size so small.
In your reply comment to Syed you said that it’s not good that Ryan only podcasts with people he’s met at camps, friends, etc… I disagree. With live podcasting there is no editorial control. Ryan is only podcasting with people that he trusts not to say something publicly that could ruin him. A recording can be edited, but many of his recent recordings have taken place in front of a live audience on the stream and IRC chat. Thoughts are published instantly, and cannot be unsaid. The beautiful part is that you can earn that trust too, by contributing to the site in other ways first. Anyone can. Be active in the forums, write a few posts, and express your interest in joining or starting a podcast. Just like everyone else who is currently active. This “rant” of yours (your own words about this post on Twitter, not mine) sure wouldn’t make me want to trust you, but Ryan is a lot nicer than I am.
The other thing I would encourage you with is the fact that you are good at what you do, and would probably have a decent following if you wanted to start your own podcast. This is your option if you don’t think Ryan’s current shows (or any other show in the WP community, of which there are many who you did not call out) is not balanced in some way, or if you just have a different idea for a different niche of people. Two hundred bucks and a small battle with the iTunes submission process is all it takes to start a decent podcast with two people. Let me know and I can send you some links to the equipment that I use to interface via Skype with Ryan’s studio.
I think you’ve made a lot of good points in your post, and some more in the comments. What I take issue with is your specific, public criticism of Ryan, just because he’s the most active right now. When I said you were link baiting, I didn’t mean it in the SEO sense, but in the sense that you knew exactly what you were doing by specifically targeting WPCandy hoping to stir up a hornets’ nest.
I think your points have been well received, and similar points have been made recently as well. See how the WPCandy shows evolve over the next few months, and if you’re not satisfied go ahead and start your own.
“How do you think the next woman that’s a part of a WPCandy podcast is going to feel? How can she not wonder if she is there as an awesome member of the community, or just because Ryan got in trouble on Twitter and just needs a skirt to fill the quota?”
If I was in this position, I would absolutely be thinking this now, whereas the part my gender played in getting me onto a podcast would never have been an issue for me before. This makes me very angry.
And this is why blog posts like this backfire and do harm to the very group that they’re intended to help. I don’t want to be included *because I’m a woman*. I want to be included *because I’m respected for my abilities*. Ironically, I often feel much more disrespected by so-called feminists who can’t seem to see past, and keep making an issue of, my gender than I do by men.
(For the record, I hardly ever wear skirts, though )
Ironically, I often feel much more disrespected by so-called feminists who can’t seem to see past, and keep making an issue of, my gender than I do by men.
Also agreed that blog posts like this, while stirring up conversation, do indeed end up backfiring. There’s encouraging women (or whomever) to participate and then there’s attacking those-who-aren’t-women-or-whomever. I think communities need to focus on the encouragement side, which, yes, includes having everybody represented more proportionately in public venues (and hopefully private ones as well). It would be quite a lie to say that seeing somebody you can easily/instantly identify with (gender, color, age, culture, whatever) has no effect on your morale and comfort level within a group, especially if you happen to be in a minority within that group. Sometimes this inclusion takes a little more legwork on one or both sides of the party, and there is a fine line between encouragement and discrimination, but I like to think it’s achievable.
For reference, in 3.3 female participation in core development was about 5%: https://twitter.com/nacin/status/145299606652198912
Yeah, I agree – that’s a good point. I really didn’t think about that to begin with, butI was wondering about it last night. I’m sorry that that is going to be a shit side-effect of it.
However, I have no doubt that within a few weeks people will have forgotten about this post but I genuinely think that by calling it out it will have made a difference.
Also, my point is not that you should be included because you are a woman, but that you should not be excluded because of it. They’re two different points. I wouldn’t want to be included in anything because of my gender.
This is honestly ridiculous. I was listening to the last podcast actually had the same thought, “why are there NEVER women on here?”. It was not a thought borne of “because there are men, there ought to be women”, but “because there are hysterical, brilliant women who can contribute in atleast as valuable a way, if not more than the men represented here”. If Ryan is to persist in this “editor in chief” role, then its likely he’ll need to be conscious of seeking a fuller representation of opinions and demographics. I don’t believe anyone thinks this is purposeful on his part. To his credit, we need to be more proactive about asking to be represented. Not as women, but as members fo the community because we have valuable things to add.
Thanks for your comment Amanda. I totally agree – we do need to be more pro-active and I hope that by posting this it encourages women to speak up. Part of the reason I wanted to post it is that I felt so uncomfortable doing so. I think it’s important that we feel able to speak out about things when they’re not right.
For your own interest – http://compass-design.co.uk/responsivesummit-my-constructive-i-hope-concerns/
“People tend to be mates with other people who are like them – and in the web design industry, there are a lot of white males who are mates with each other, and when they get together they don’t deliberately exclude anyone else, but it doesn’t occur to them to include them either.”
Rachel’s viewpoint is what I see echoed here – clearly there is an under-representation of women when you take a snapshot of the contributors to one WP news site, but it’s not deliberate.
You have my name mentioned among the “guys” who got the coverage on WPCandy. The fact of matter is, almost all of those coverage of myself or WPBeginner was when I specifically sent Ryan an email.
I appeared in one of their very early podcasts (not by invitation). I was one of the few watching the live broadcast and commenting on the chat. Asked Ryan if I can join. Within minutes, I was live on air via Skype.
This post seems like you are accusing WPCandy for being sexist even though you said that wasn’t your point. Your title “Hey WPCandy, if I have a sex change can I join your club” is clearly calling them out. This title would make sense if you had sent him multiple emails, and he just ignores you or refuse to give you any coverage. However right now, it just seems like a LINK BAIT (a one that seems to be working because you are getting comments).
To be fair, I think Ryan, Brad, Otto, Dre all hang out at WordCamps which makes them more likely to be on the podcast (they have chemistry). I know that when I have attended WordCamps with these guys, we had our own sort of crew with Otto, myself, Ryan, and few others. Obviously if you hang out with someone in person, you are more likely to be in touch. (I attend roughly 5 or so WordCamps every year). If I get a client who is looking for some cool plugin dev, I would send them Brad’s way (WebDevStudios). Just because I didn’t send the client to a female developer, doesn’t mean I don’t like female developer’s work. It just means that I know Brad better, and I trust him more. It’s about relationships. Same goes for the fact if I invite Brad and Otto to join a podcast… it doesn’t mean that I have something against female devs. It just means that these guys are my friends, and I know them better.
Last but certainly not the least, I first heard about you from WPCandy when they covered “Words forWP”. Before then, I didn’t realize that you were writing on WPMU etc. But after that coverage of yours on WPCandy, I started noticing you on other sites. This is probably because now I knew about you, so I was like oh, I know what she does. I admire your writing skills and the work you have done. I’ve read your articles on Smashing and other places.
Keep up the good work. Don’t think that you are being ignored because you are a FEMALE. If that’s the case, I would probably be the first to come to your defense considering I have so many female friends working in the tech sphere.
Thanks for your contribution! Again, I’ll try to respond to all of your points.
“Your title “Hey WPCandy, if I have a sex change can I join your club” is clearly calling them out. ”
I am calling them out, you’re right.
” it just seems like a LINK BAIT”
Like I wrote in an earlier comment to Justin, to say that this is link bait clearly belittles the issue. I wouldn’t use such a serious issue to either improve my SEO, to increase my personal visibility, or to generate links to my website. This is a personal blog where I post random junk, pictures of my cat and links to my posts elsewhere. It’s not something I’m desperate to draw attention to, but it was the most appropriate place to make my point.
“To be fair, I think Ryan, Brad, Otto, Dre all hang out at WordCamps which makes them more likely to be on the podcast (they have chemistry). I know that when I have attended WordCamps with these guys, we had our own sort of crew with Otto, myself, Ryan, and few others. Obviously if you hang out with someone in person, you are more likely to be in touch. ”
I don’t think that this is a good excuse at all – it just promotes cliques in what is a really expansive community. In writing my own posts for Smashing Mag I call upon clients or people that I’ve met at WordCamps of course, but I am always careful to reach out to people who I’ve never had contact with before, to people from different countries, and of different genders. I’m also aware that who appears in a post is affected by the topic – for example, I’m writing something about WordPress startups at the minute and I really struggled to find women that are running large WordPress businesses, and that’s reflected in the post.
This touches on a more general issue – I am incredibly privileged to have a platform like Smashing Magazine to publish on. I love working with the editor there and enjoy the time and depth I get to dedicate to article. And as part of that I want to be able to share that platform with lots of different people – this means moving outside the “usual suspects” and reaching out to new people. And thinking about different genders within that is very much a part of it. Like I say, I’m not always entirely successful but as a person promoting WordPress in such a public place I feel that it’s my responsibility.
” Just because I didn’t send the client to a female developer, doesn’t mean I don’t like female developer’s work. It just means that I know Brad better, and I trust him more.”
The issue is not about who you send clients to in private, it’s about how we are represented in public.
” I admire your writing skills and the work you have done. I’ve read your articles on Smashing and other places.”
Thanks so much – I’ve long been a fan of WP Beginner (I think I featured you in a few posts at WPMU).
“Don’t think that you are being ignored because you are a FEMALE. If that’s the case, I would probably be the first to come to your defense considering I have so many female friends working in the tech sphere.”
To respond to that, I’ll ask you the same question I did Justin: Why do you think that no women (apart from partners) have appeared on WPCandy podcasts? We exist (I hope) in a meritocracy. What does the absence of women mean?
I’ve been sitting here reading through the comments and trying to figure out exactly how I feel about the whole “women in WordPress/tech in general” thing. Here’s my quite possibly rambling response
I’m a woman. I’m very aware that I am one and very happy to be one But – it’s not the primary way in which I define myself in life and especially not when it comes to work. I tend to just think of myself as “Taryn”, with “woman” being one of the labels that I can use to describe myself. There are many other labels that I can choose if I so wish: white, short, (ex)South African…. “Taryn” is made up of all of those and yet isn’t dependent on any of those for identity.
I know I’m not alone in how I think of myself, yet I know this isn’t universal. Some people’s sense of identity is informed very strongly by their nationality or gender, for example. Mine isn’t, though, and it’s probably for that reason that I always feel quite a sense of surprise whenever an article like this comes out, or someone points out the fact that I’m one of few women at a WordPress or other tech gathering, because I, very honestly, simply don’t notice or (dare I say it) care.
I’ve never felt deliberately excluded from anything WordPress or tech related. I’ve always felt that if I have the time or inclination to get involved, that I could do so and that my contribution would be judged on the same merits as anyone else’s. It’s always nice to be invited to participate in something (and I have been, by male and female WordPress colleagues alike), but I’m not sitting back waiting for an invitation to contribute. I’ve always found the WordPress community very proactive and very welcoming – anyone (regardless of gender, race, nationality etc) who has some value to add is encouraged to do so.
All of that said, please don’t interpret my personal opinion above to mean that I think that other women who are concerned about the gender imbalance or who feel excluded are wrong for feeling this way. If this is something that you notice and which bothers you, then it’s a valid concern and should be addressed. I’m not convinced that a blog post with an inflammatory title is the best way to go about this, but it has got people talking at least
I think the point I feel strongly about was something way back was mentioned to me (I was previously in the don’t overly care / notice camp). It was that this isn’t a case of something that will impact me but it’s the women / girls that come after me. To me those having visible women role models in the industry is something I am passionate about. The key is ‘visible there’.
I’m certainly no card carrying feminist and personally I think the often country bias also needs to be addressed. So many amazing people and things going on world wide with WordPress.
I do 100% agree that we lead by example though. We just also need to make sure we give opportunities while we lead. We all approach this differently and that’s what rocks about this community. I second the fact that as a whole the WordPress community is incredibly non biased and amazingly welcome – or that has been my experience also.
> To me those having visible women role models in the industry is something I am passionate about.
Does that not imply that you think that females new to the industry / community only want / need existing (visible) females as role models? That seems to ingrain to them that they can only ever have aspirations that match the most visible and prominent woman, highlighting the gender difference, instead of allowing them to have, say, Nacin & co as their tech role models?
My wife is a chemical engineer, working in the oil and gas industry. That industry as *far* more male-dominated than the WP community at engineer, middle-management, and the top bosses – it’s safe to say that the majority of women who work for those companies tend to fulfil the secretarial positions. If my wife felt that she could only look up to other women engineers, because that’s what existing female engineers thought that she should be doing, then something would be very wrong.
There shouldn’t be a need to make any subset of people more visible than others, except those that are doing things right, progressing the community and software within it, and who can share their knowledgeable experiences with their peers so that we all get a little better at what we do every day.
Whose asking anyone to be more visible? I’m not and neither was that being asked in this post. It certainly isn’t about highlighting genders it’s exposure for all which I am saying in my reply above.
Oh, absolutely. I’m conscious of the fact that others may see me as a role model. But I don’t specifically try to be a role model for other women… if a younger woman considering a tech career chooses to view me as a role model, that’s great, but it is just as possible that I’m seen as a role model by someone with outwardly different characteristics to me but who still sees something in my attitude that they identify with and choose to emulate. (I used to lecture at university level, and being seen as a role model by students of different genders and races was an honour.)
Regardless of one’s opinions about it, it is a fact that women are in the minority in both the WordPress community and the tech industry in general – but the status quo doesn’t change by complaining about it. All that serves to do is harm the very group you’re trying to help by ensuring that they’re once again seen as victims.
I agree with the not trying to be a role model – that is a honour and choice. What I was trying to state and probably not saying so well was that if people see women they can then make those choices. Same as you say can be said for any minority / mediumority (if that even is a word)
I also whole heartily agree talk doesn’t do anything and moaning does nothing but harm. Couldn’t agree more there.
Personally, my ‘take home’ from this conversation was the comment from Ryan:
“Valid criticism, no doubt. It’s something I can definitely do a better job of on WPCandy.”
“but the status quo doesn’t change by complaining about it”
That’s true – but it can be addressed by raising an issue and making incremental changes.
On reflection, I’ll retract that. If you see a problem you should complain about it. Obviously I’m not planning to spend the next 6 months banging on about it, but it’s important to call things out so they are addressed.
Well, there’s complaining and then there’s *complaining* One is actively geared towards being part of the solution, while another just compounds the problem. I see inflammatory posts like this as the latter.
I agree, I’ve never felt discriminated against in the WordPress world, at all (well, expect when a developer tells me how to write HTML or I’m asked if I know what a template file is…. but that rant is for another day). However, that’s me. And I’m fairly thick skinned and am happy to put myself forward for things no matter what the context.
My experience, though, is not everyone’s experience. Not everyone has the confidence to do that, and why should they? In any case, my own experience is individual, whereas what I’m pointing out is more structural. It is completely weird that no women have been featured on WPCandy podcasts. First of all I just ignored it and thought that it would eventually be addressed but it wasn’t. And if I noticed it then other people have too and probably been more affected by it than me.
I have no doubt that it affects other people who do feel that exclusion. As Tammie points out, this is just the type of thing that has the potential to put off a younger generation of female developers, designers, etc. I think that should be avoided. And if it takes me making an infographic and a controversial to get it talked about and on the agenda then that’s fine.
Siobhan, I’d like to comment on this and be as respectful as I can.
First off, you are right, there is a definite lack of women present and I believe many people may not think, “I want that to change”, but those same people would not do anything to stop it from changing. More women present in the arena would not do anything to harm the community.
However, what you say in your comments and what you say in your title are contradictory. “I have no doubt that the omission isn’t intentional” and “I need to have a sex change to join” are opposing statements. On one hand, you state that you don’t believe women are intentionally being kept out, yet with your title you imply that such is the case. So it feels like you are attacking and placating at the same time. That is frustrating, and I’d be willing to bet that is where some frustration on the WP Candy side is coming from.
Second, and I may be wrong on this, but it feels like once again the “Straight White Male Privilege” is being brought up. Too many times I see attacks on my demographic that insinuate that I can’t know how hard it is, and that I should just keep quiet when it comes to talking about working hard and earning what I get. I recently talked at a regional conference for Open Source. I don’t believe my talk was on par with the caliber of others speaking. The only reason, in my opinion, that I even was invited to speak was because they had empty slots. I wouldn’t have been invited if I didn’t do one thing: ask. I wouldn’t, and I assume others would agree, be bothered at all if I saw someone on WP Candy or other sites write an article or give a podcast as woman talking about how more women need to get involved or showcasing great women in the field. I would read/listen so long as the content is good, I don’t care who is presenting it.
Honestly, I see your point and I agree with you to a degree, more women would be great to see in the community. But I believe that more great content should be the goal, not more of whichever group isn’t prominent.
I don’t see how they are opposing statements. The title implies that if I had a penis I’d be allowed in. I didn’t say anything about conscious decisions – it’s just a subconscious thing in which men (i.e. those who have penises) are asked to get involved. Probably no need to get into the transgender discussion as that’s a whole different can of worms.
Yes, you are right, and I have absolutely no problem with this being a Straight White Male Privilege thing. That’s not all of what it is, but that is part of it. That should be fought against until it’s an anachronism to even bring it up. But I’m afraid it’s not that yet. I don’t think I’m making an attack on your demographic though, nor am I telling you to keep quiet about working hard etc etc. Good for you, you can ask for things. I ask for things too.
Some people, though, don’t have that confidence. Maybe they don’t feel like they’re the type of person worth listening to, or maybe they think everyone else is better than them, or they see the people represented in the spotlight and they think “hey, that’ll never happen to a person like me” or whatever other reason – should we just exclude these people? Or should we be encouraging them and building their confidence?
We do agree that great content is the goal, I’m just really into expanding the pool where that content is found.
“it’s just a subconscious thing in which men (i.e. those who have penises) are asked to get involved.”
As I stated in my original comment which I took a while to write out and seems to have gone relatively unnoticed compared to the amount of back and forth with other people: Being asked to get involved in things is not generally how participation on WPCandy works.
Additionally, it is perplexing that you have continued this train of thought even though there is a woman earlier in this comment thread who said that Ryan did approach her to participate in the Quarterly (one of the projects where he specifically asked for contributions) and it didn’t work out because she was too busy. Yes that would have meant only one female contribution and it would have still been overwhelmingly male, but from what I’ve read there were other women he approached and to be correctly representative it would be overly male anyways.
As I stated in my earlier comment, I believe it is a coincidence that has to do with the fact that men are a large majority in the WordPress community and the barrier to participation in WPCandy makes it difficult for those with full time jobs and freelancing careers. The idea of subconscious bias/prejudice isn’t substantiated by any facts, you’re simply interpreting raw data in one way when there are plenty of more plausible explanations. I’ve seen no reports of women trying to get involved and being shunned. Your claims of bias in asking for people to get involved are contradicted by at least one anecdotal report in this comment thread.
“Some people, though, don’t have that confidence. Maybe they don’t feel like they’re the type of person worth listening to”
So now it is no longer his subconscious bias, it’s that some people won’t ask to get involved. You’ve stated several times that you aren’t one of these people- yet you just sat back and assumed the lack of women on the WPCandy podcast would rectify itself. You’ve been written about several times on the site and you have a rapport with the owner- more of one than I had when I sent him an email out of the blue one day. If you really care about this, why don’t you be the change you want to see? You were in a perfect position to do so.
I don’t think enacting some kind of token system will prop women up as role models, nor do I think that all women developers should be placed with the burden of feeling like they have to be a role model for younger generations. There is another woman in this thread who says she doesn’t feel the same as you- to me it would be both unfair to her and other people if all of a sudden she was being asked to speak at local WordPress meetups and felt obligated to do so. If you feel like it would be good to represent, then represent. Don’t expect Ryan to find others to do it for you.
What you have done here is definitely ensured that Ryan will include more women- and it will very much be a conscious choice. If that was your desired goal, then you have succeeded. However, you’ve also stated that you don’t want women to be included because of the fact that they are women. There is no chance of this happening now.
As far as “Straight white male”- I am a gay man. The issue of sexual orientation never came up when I was on the podcast or a writer for WPCandy. As I’ve stated before I don’t believe gender or skin color would have either. It is really bizarre to throw that in there. As a sexual minority, I’ve come to understand that I will always be a small minority in society at large. I don’t consume media expecting to see myself (or rather what I consider an aspect of myself, not something that defines my entire identity)
To reiterate, I’m not opposed to the idea of women being more represented, I just take issue with both the way you approached writing this article and the conclusions drawn from it.
Daniel, I really hope that I didn’t offend you with the “Straight White Male” line. It was in reference to a recent post by someone that made an analogy that being a straight white male is the easiest setting in a game, and among the perks of this difficulty setting is that they get immediate access to areas other have to work for. I only referenced it because Siobhan seemed to be saying something similar.
Here is the post:
“I don’t see how they are opposing statements. The title implies that if I had a penis I’d be allowed in. I didn’t say anything about conscious decisions – it’s just a subconscious thing in which men (i.e. those who have penises) are asked to get involved.”
I feel they are opposing because the title suggest, to me, that you have asked and tried to get asked to contribute yet were denied solely because you are a woman, which being a conscious decision. If that is the case and I have missed that, then I would like to apologize properly for that. If, however, that is not the case, then my initial interpretation of the article and title go against later statements made by you (as I previously quoted) that you don’t believe it to be any conscious decision. So on one hand it seems that an accusation is being made that a conscious decision to keep women out is being made then later contradicting it. If that contradiction exists solely in my mind, then I hope I haven’t offended you in bringing it up. I really do want to be respectful and not patronizing.
“Probably no need to get into the transgender discussion as that’s a whole different can of worms.”
Agreed, I don’t see any reason to bring that aspect in.
“Yes, you are right, and I have absolutely no problem with this being a Straight White Male Privilege thing. That’s not all of what it is, but that is part of it. That should be fought against until it’s an anachronism to even bring it up. But I’m afraid it’s not that yet. I don’t think I’m making an attack on your demographic though, nor am I telling you to keep quiet about working hard etc etc. Good for you, you can ask for things. I ask for things too.”
I should clarify, I don’t believe you have said such. It has been said often enough on other discussions I’ve been apart of that it has become associated.
“Some people, though, don’t have that confidence. Maybe they don’t feel like they’re the type of person worth listening to, or maybe they think everyone else is better than them, or they see the people represented in the spotlight and they think “hey, that’ll never happen to a person like me” or whatever other reason – should we just exclude these people? Or should we be encouraging them and building their confidence?”
Those statements echo my feelings when I submitted my paper, leading up to my presentation as I prepared it, and the day of my presenation. Out of nearly 100 people there, only 2 showed up to my talk. That is right, 2. That could have crushed my confidence, but I looked at it as an opportunity to practice and try again next year.
I do not hold the opinion that I should have to cater to others who lack confidence to do what I did. That is something people have to learn to get through.
My sister-in-law approached me a few months back asking to be taught web development. I was estatic that she thought enough of me to ask for my help. I did everything short of programming for her to facilitate her education. I told her to call me any time, day or night, send emails, and ask any question no matter how rediculous it seemed. She learned enough that I felt she could get a job as a developer. She would apply, then never call back. She would never follow up, no matter how much I told her that was the status quo. Every job that “fell into my lap” according to her, I had to work for. I emailed a resume then called and left a message if no one was available to speak to me. I called and emailed every day after that until someone called me back. Sometimes I would call more than a few times a day, I was determined to get the job I was seeking. Sometimes I felt like I was not the front-runner for the job but because I showed how much I wanted it, it was given to me. More than once, the company I applied at I had friends in that were in decision-making positions. Those jobs I had to work harder for. If you made it this far, thanks for hearing me out. I guess I just wanted to express that being male doesn’t always give benefits that seem to be assumed are given.
“We do agree that great content is the goal, I’m just really into expanding the pool where that content is found.”
I agree that restricting the pool poses major problems and is not the community I want to be a part of.
This argument is ridiculous. The ONLY reason men have more coverage is because they contribute more to the WordPress community. I’m not being sexist, it’s just the truth.
See the following list I prepared. Please note that my list is based on the most influential PEOPLE in the WordPress community, not MEN, just PEOPLE.
Top WordPress Plugins (as recorded by the .org archive)
Akismet – automattic + others (mostly men in team)
All in One SEO Pack – Michael Torbert (male)
Google XML Sitemaps – Arne Brachhold (male)
Jetpack – automattic + others (mostly men in team)
WordPress SEO – Joost de Valk (male)
Contact Form 7 – Takayuki Miyoshi (male)
WordPress Importer – wordpress.org (mostly men in team)
gtrans – Edvard Ananyan (male)
Fast Secure Contact Form – Mike Challis (male)
WP Super Cache – Donncha O Caoimh (male)
NextGEN Gallery – Alex Rabe (male)
Ultimate TinyMCE – Josh (male)
Add Link to Facebook – Marcel Bokhorst (male)
WPtouch – Dale Mugford (male) & Duane Storey (male)
WP e-Commerce – Dan Millward (male)
Top Themeforest Authors
Indonez – Zainal Mudzakir (male) & Endang Fitria (female)
Biggest WordPress Community Websites
WPCandy – Ryan Imel (male)
WPTavern – Jeff Chandler (male)
WPLift – Oli Dale (male)
WPMayor – Jean Galea (male)
WPMods – [formally] Kevin Muldoon (male)
Theme.fm – [formally] Konstantin Kovshenin (male)
WPKube – Devesh Sharma (male)
WPforce – Jonathan Dingman (male)
WordPress Theme shops
WooThemes – Adii Pienaar (male)
iThemes – Cory Miller (male)
Okay Themes – Mike McAlister (male)
Press75 – Jason Schuller (male)
Studiopress – Brian Gardner (male)
Themezilla – Orman Clark & co (male)
Theme Hybrid – Justin Tadlock (male)
DevPress – Tung Do (male)
Obox – David Perel (male) & Marc Perel (male)
Graphpaperpress – Thad Allender (male)
Also this has absolutely nothing to do with WPCandy. This is a general software development problem (if you can even call it a problem). The title is extremely snarky and in bad taste in my opinion.
Making my point for me, Chris. Thanks.
Everyone, I’ve decided to close the comments on this post. I don’t have the time to respond to everyone properly. In any case, a discussion has been had, people have made their points and I think it’s great that it’s got a public airing. If you want to keep talking about it I know that many have your own blogs where you can do so.
As Justin pointed out, this post could lead the the first woman who appears on the WPCandy podcasts from feeling like they have been invited on because of their gender. I’m genuinely sorry for that.
However, if it leads to a woman being invited on then that’s a good thing and something has been achieved. At the current rate, it didn’t look like that was going to happen. Plenty of you may think that it’s normal for a body that presents itself as the face of a community to have no female representation, but it’s not, and it’s sad if you think that.
In any case, I’m sure that Ryan won’t be asking people purely because of their gender but because there are plenty of awesome women who are fantastic at what they do and who deserve a bit of the limelight. And no doubt, this post will disappear from the WP public consciousness but it may have a lasting effect in terms of women getting coverage.
I know many of you think that this was the wrong thing to do – but I totally disagree. In all aspects of life, if you see something wrong I think its important to do something about it, even if it results in you taking a lot of shit for it. It’s not like I do this often, and it’s certainly the first time in the WP community; I’d rather just be left alone to write.
Anyway, thanks to Ryan for his own measured response in the comments, I think he’s done a fantastic job on WPCandy and will no doubt continue to do so. This was not intended as a personal attack on him, but was about raising an issue and addressing it. And if it gets other people thinking about the issue too, then great.
Comments are closed.