Why is the WCC for women only?

The latest numbers we’ve seen show that less than 25% of programmers and web developers are women, and ironically, fewer women are majoring in computer science now than did in 1985 (37% in 1985 vs. 22% in 2005).

Our goal is to help improve these numbers. We do this by creating spaces that are full of women and led by women. It’s a lot about visibility and presence, creating spaces and role models.

How do you define “woman”?

WCC is welcoming, inclusive, and supportive of anyone who identifies as a woman (so thumbs-up on trans women), or, in the case of nonbinary folks, who identifies with woman/female/femme enough to want to be part of a women-centered community.

Or to put it another way, cis men and binary-identified trans men are the folks for whom the WCC community would not be a good fit. (Explaining in terms of “not” isn’t ideal, but sometimes it helps clarify.)

Of course, someone who identifies as a woman, but who presents as masculine is welcome too.

So folks don’t have to be identified “female” at birth and they don’t have to be “feminine,” but they should identify as a woman/with women’s experiences (such as the way people interact with you when they perceive you as female/a woman), keeping in mind that “woman” encompasses a wide range of appearance and behavior.

In answering this question, we also refer to Wellesley College’s Mission and Gender Policy, as it closely reflects our perspective.

Why are men not invited to participate?

We’re less concerned with answering the question of “How is this space better without men?” but more the question of “What benefits come from this space being women only?

Aren’t you creating a walled garden and shutting yourselves out from the real world where men and women work together?

We like to think of it as a greenhouse. And we have plenty of opportunities to work with men—at our jobs, in our communities, etc. We don’t think lack of opportunities for women to work and learn with men is a problem that exists.

There are lots of great guys in web development; aren’t you missing out on beneficial resources and influences?

We agree and we recognize this is one sacrifice we’re making in exchange for other benefits. That being said, see above question.

Further reading...

Missy Titus: Why do women try to get ahead by pulling men down?
Serge Wroclawski: Observations From a Python Workshop
John Scalzi: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is
Selena Deckelmann: Why there is more than one women in tech group