So I turned in the last chapter of my new book at 1:15am on Tuesday, slept for a few hours, and woke up to a cranky toddler and this piece of nonsense over at wpmu.org lamenting the lack of women in WordPress. I facepalmed and went back to bed, but I’m still angry about it.
It’s not that I disagree with the point of the article. There should be more women speaking at WordCamps, especially in the developer tracks. I think we often do sabotage ourselves, or fear to speak up about the work we’re doing.
But… this article. Oy.
Making a list of half a dozen women (really four, but I’m being generous and including all the women mentioned in the article and not just the highlighted names) and then shaming everyone else for not participating (“you’ve run out of excuses!”) just galls me no end. If you can’t name more women in WordPress than that, you’re not trying.
Let’s start with the fact that Helen Hou-Sandi was in charge of the flagship feature in the 3.6 release (until a small and adorable distraction arrived), and didn’t rate a mention in this article at all. She posted a lot throughout the development cycle, including updates after every IRC meeting, on the make/core blog. It was kind of hard to miss her involvement if you were paying any attention at all. You also can’t read the make/ui blog without tripping over Sara Cannon.
Ipstenu (Mika) is all over the support forums. She’s also (less visibly) part of the plugin review team, which I appreciate no end.
If Lisa’s books are the only ones you see on the shelf, it’s probably because the store can’t restock fast enough — my local Barnes & Noble has sold out of almost everything WordPress-related over the last two weeks. Otherwise, you’ll see Heather Wallace, April Hodge Silver, Janet Majure, Alannah Moore, Tessa Blakeley Silver, and Jessica Neuman Beck at a minimum. I’m looking forward to this new one by Rachel McCollin.
Where are the women at WordCamps? Look behind the registration desk. They’re running the damn things. Take a look at the organizing team for this year’s Austin camp. Amanda Blum co-chaired the best-organized WordCamp I’ve ever been to.
Other names off the top of my head in five minutes flat: Rachel Carden wrote one of the best dev tutorials I’ve seen recently; Rachel Baker created a Bootstrap theme for WordPress (not as easy as you’d think); Shelley Keith and Lacy Tite are rocking WP in higher ed; Ellen of Elmastudio does such lovely themes that I’m using one now while I redesign; and almost all the new Genesis child themes I’ve seen added to the community section lately were done by women. I’ve met a bunch of women because of their WordCamp talks, and I’m looking forward to seeing Carrie Dils in Austin. I’m sure I’ve just offended twenty more people by not thinking of them immediately. (Sorry, ladies. My brain is still rebooting after the deadline scramble.)
CodePoet has no trouble finding women to interview: Rachael Butts, Christine Rondeau, Janessa McKell, Sarah Jacobs, Helen Hou-Sandi (seriously, you STILL missed her?), and Mika Epstein (gosh, there she is again). I see a new one with Tammie Lister went up this morning. Awesome.
I’m sure the article wasn’t intended to be hurtful toward the women not named in it, but I guarantee they’re feeling overlooked and condescended to by the men in the field; getting that treatment from other women stings that much more.
Aside from the, er, factual inaccuracies in the text, I’d like to point out that illustrating a list of women in WordPress with a photo of Matt is a pretty boneheaded move, akin to the “three leering dudes” billboard celebrating women’s accomplishments.
Do we still have problems getting women involved with WordPress, especially on the developer side? Yes. I think there are a lot of good articles you could write about the state of women in WordPress — but this one is not it. (Although this comment might be.)