The cultural divide

Kimberly Blessing has a good follow up discussion on the recent diversity discussion. She specifically pointed out something I also noticed, and it had to do with Robert Scoble’s comment to my post.

Robert wrote:

One thing about Digg and TechMeme (and, really, Megite and TailRank too): they reward networkers. How do you get links? Learn to beg for them via email and/or face-to-face meetings at conferences and other events. Men do this far far more often than women do.

Kimberly took issue with this because the expectation here is that we women have to emulate male behavior patterns in order to succeed. The whole point of diversity is that society, generally, and the tech field, specifically, has to work towards an environment that’s comfortable for all people, not just the current dominant holders of the gate. Otherwise, we lose all the benefits of diversity.

Contrary to what seems to be popular opinion among too many people, diversity is a good thing, not an onerous burden.

I agreed with Kimberly, but I also had an almost atavistic reaction to the whole idea of ‘begging’ for anything. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that I would never beg for anything. The very idea is hugely repugnant, with its reminders of not-so-long ago times when the only ‘rights’ given women were those which we could beg.

This isn’t to pick on Robert, but does demonstrate, perhaps, one of the many subtle and not so subtle ‘biases’ built into the tech environment. It is these cultural blips that makes the tech field fit like a tailored suit for the men, while women feel decidedly off the rack.

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