“Free as in sexist?” Free Culture and the Gender Gap / Joseph Reagle

This article is particularly valuable when discussing stereotypical and default modes of collaboration and communication within technical communities. Reagle focuses particularly on gender, but the framework laid out here also has resonance for technical development involving other underrepresented communities.

“Despite the values of freedom and openness, the free culture movement’s gender balance is as skewed (or more so) as that of the computing culture from which it arose. Based on the collection and analysis of discourse on gender and sexism within this movement over a six–year period. I suggest three possible causes: (a) some geek identities can be narrow and unappealing; (b) open communities are especially susceptible to difficult people; and, (c) the ideas of freedom and openness can be used to dismiss concerns and rationalize the gender gap as a matter of preference and choice.”

Reagle, Joseph. 2012. “‘Free as in Sexist?’ Free Culture and the Gender Gap.” First Monday 18 (1). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4291.