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Women and diversity in communities
Continuous Community Clue #039
A while I stumbled upon an article on what women want in communities. It stuck out to me because I’m not sure I’ve come across resources specifically on women and diversity before and that feels so wrong.
The post covers community behaviours women and men tend to have:
Post shorter messages.
Tend to drop out when they get no response.
Express support of others.
Look for common ground with questioners.
Speak less in mixed groups.
Are more aggressive in majority male groups.
Become more upset with violations of civility.
Value social harmony.
Feel better when they know someone is enforcing rules.
Say the loss of privacy is the biggest problem of the internet.
Write longer messages.
Tend to begin and end discussions in mixed groups.
Take adversarial approach to questioners.
More commonly use crude or abusive language, tolerate adversity.
Less aggressive in majority female groups.
Less likely to value social harmony.
Are more upset about threats to free expression.
Say censorship is one of the biggest problems of the internet.
Building community for diversity is something I’m hyper sensitive to. The first thing I look for when I join communities or follow people online is whether they appear to support diversity.
It’s pretty amazing how many men are oblivious to what ‘women’ think of them or the environment we have to put up with.
I once dropped into a business podcast to listen to the two male hosts laugh and not understand why they don’t have women showing up at their events and as followers. I could give a million reasons why. That experience of listening to them was just one of them.
What I also experience a lot is a lack of credit. I feel women often share things, ideas, and experiences. And then men often build upon them without giving due credit. The challenging thing is that often they don’t realise they are doing it.
It’s lots of little things like this that can often be dismissed as not important, but for women it’s like death by a thousand cuts.
Why should we share stuff, if often we feel taken advantage of, instead of supported and uplifted? It feels like it doesn’t do us favours and we often end up spending our energy on pointing out the injustices, like I’m doing right now. It’s exhausting.
These are the challenges of building community with women in mind. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to women. Diversity comes in many different forms and different challenges. And of course, this is not all men.
And honestly, I feel most at ease when there is a real balance of diversity, and that’s something I’m going to keep imperfectly striving for.
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