Brian E Carpenter brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com
Thu May 1 22:57:31 UTC 2014

On 02/05/2014 08:25, Patrick Ryan wrote:
> At risk of getting a little off topic, but that we don’t lose
> the plot on this, one of the things that I heard many times
> in the hallway at NETmundial was the need to address gender
> issues in the area of Internet governance.  This wasn’t
> something that was addressed in any of the plenary sessions
> (to my recollection), but I had no less than a half dozen
> hallway conversations about it. It’s a good IGF question
> (because of the broad mandate that the IGF has for various
> policy matters) and I’m working with colleagues in the MAG to
> see if we can fold this into one of the work areas this year
> in Istanbul.  However, it’s something that we should also
> consider on a broader basis.
> If my back-of-the envelope analysis is right on the
> statistics of 1Net postings that came out recently, there are
> only three women that factor in any of the “top 20”
> categories listed (Marilyn, Avri, Andrea).  We seem to have
> done really well to assure that the voice in the governance
> discussion are distributed better geographically, but there’s
> greenfield ahead in ensuring that the voices are more
> balanced in terms of gender.

Unfortunately, I don't think it's greenfield at all. I was first
asked about this topic in public in early 1995, I think, at the
"Geneva Internet Day" that introduced the Internet as an
opportunity to the UN organisations (and the public) in Geneva.

Also unfortunately, my answer today is pretty much the same. You
see gender imbalance in these discussions *because* it exists in
network engineering and management in general. Those of us here
are chosen, or self-chosen, from an unbalanced population. Which
of course goes back to the measured fact that women progress
less than men in higher education and careers in science and
engineering in general.

That doesn't mean it's OK. It's just that I am very pessimistic
about improving things except by working on a much earlier
career stage than many of us here have reached.

> I don’t pretend to have answers for this, and I also find
> that wading into these waters can be complicated.  


> It’s a
> zone where I put foot-in-mouth more than once.  Still, I
> think it’s something for us to keep our eye on as we consider
> the broader “meaning and application of equal footing.”
> Patrick

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