Blogging and Internet Activism - the Patriarchy Remains In Tack

Ten years ago when I was studying computer science in college, our program was perhaps 80% men. Since then, I believe significantly more women have entered computer science and the computer field in general.

As an activist, I've learned that men hold disproportionate power in pretty much every progressive organization and probably hold a majority of the power in perhaps 80-90% of organizations that aren't explicity focussed on feminist issues. At least in the student movement, perhaps more so at the national and regional level (ex. at conferences) this gets a significant amount of attention. Not enough that things become magically ok, but at least it gets talked about.

However in the little networking that I've done within "activist techie" circles (ok, mostly looking at websites and reading emails), I'm not even hearing this issue being talked about.

The tech activists that I know are perhaps 80-90% men. Sometimes I don't know the gender of the founders of a project, but I'm guessing that most major activist websites (and related software tools) were created by men.

The internet itself is governed by a set of specifications which are created by.... teams of men? For instance, the W3C board has 10 men and 1 woman. It's rather disturbing that small groups of people are making decisions that affect millions of people. The W3C is some kind of meritocracy / democracy for the rich. Membership costs $5750. You have to pay for the right to vote in its decisions.

Blogs themselves are an example of gendered behavior. Men are more likely to write blogs to express "great ideas" (preaching to the ignorant masses). Whereas women write journals to express their feelings. My blog fits this pattern.

Do we want a world where men design websites to spread their ideas to passive women readers?

Several Ideas
1) Create tools that don't require technical skill to be used. (Since IT skills are distributed unevenly by gender, class and race.)
2) Create tools that are free, available, easy to access. (As opposed to creating tools that will be used by a couple people in a national office.)
3) Encourage women to get technical skills.