I was a software engineer without a GitHub account. I know, shocking, because everyone is supposed to have one – and actually the reason why I had to get resulted in me receiving a set of questions which assumed I would have a GitHub account, but Twitter account was optional.
I didn’t have a GitHub account because I had never felt any need for one, and my reaction to needing one was slight panic, because I had this impression that it was a space where women got harassed. Of course, this is a statement that could be applied to The Internet in general, and I Internet a lot. Or Twitter, and I tweet a lot. But those things I would feel a sense of loss to do without.
Also, I really had my fill of men patronising me and assuming I didn’t know what I was talking about during University, and it’s not like this experience has stopped since then. I don’t need to put myself in a position for men to make me feel like I shouldn’t be an engineer. The voice in my head is doing a perfectly adequate job, and does not need a chorus line.
Anyway, I thought about why I had GitHub pegged as a Bad Space, and I came up with three main things:
- The general hostility in Open Source to women (and other minorities) [here is a good recent article that touches on that].
- This pull request (I never read the comments. I am well trained to Internet. Turns out my imagination filled in the blanks, possibly worse than what was there).
- The rug. Since got rid of, which is a start.
And so I tweeted.
Pleased to say that I got replies from 6 women saying that their experience has been fine.
Which is obviously completely unscientific, and not a representative sample. But it was enough to quash the feeling of dread I had. So hey, now I have a GitHub account.