Why isn’t your headline “why the hell are women still earning less than men?!?!”

I read Library Journal pretty regularly. I enjoy it, the writing is often great and John Berry and I see eye to eye on a lot of things. There have been a few lousy headlines about library topics that we’ve seen in the popular media, where the library was on what I would consdier the “right” side of an issue and the headline made them look like they were not. I read the whole article on salaries called What’s an MLIS Worth (for the record, I have an MLib.) and I have to say I could not get over the fact that women in librarianship, in all parts of librarianship earn less than men.

This fact is buried about four pages into the article in a section entitles “Gender Inequity Remains” and states “While women have seen positive improvements in salaries, finally topping $40,000, their salaries continue to lag approximately 6.5% behind salaries for men.” LJ then goes on to explain that they think this is because more men work in academic and vendor-type jobs where salaries are generaly higher. It also states that women have higher starting salaries generally and do better in special libraries where their salaries are 17.6% higher than men, but this section was one of the smaller ones in terms of total population; there were only 14 men’s salaries examined (and 86 women’s). Men in public libraries, on average, earn more than women, except in Canada. Men in academic libraries, on average, earn more than women. I’m sure there are many good reasons why this “effect” exists, but I’m a little curious whether there are really just a few totally plausible explanations for this, or if librarianship despite its intelligent, introspective, feminized nature is just as bad as everyplace else with its remaining gender inequity?

(mostly) fully clothed women reading

Lezende Vrouwen in de Kunst (women reading, in artworks). The site is in Dutch but you can just click across the century links up top. From the always excellent BibliOdyssey.

Just say “NO” to RTFM or why there aren’t more women in open source?

This is loosely related to libraries, but it is related to FOSS [free and open source software] which many libraries are using or contemplating. One of the things that is consistently stressed as a benefit of open source stuff is that when you pay for people to work on your software, you are hiring talent, not paying for licenses at giant megacorporations. For some of us, this is an unqualified good thing. However, compared to megacorporation software projects, there are many fewer women working on open source projects.

Some of this has to do with the nature of the open source community, some of it has to do with technology generally. When my little video got a ton of views on YouTube, I sort of made a joke that I would know it was a success when the marriage proposals started trickling in. Other non-techies looked at me strangely when I said this, but sure enough when you look at the comments, you’ll see it. I find it all pretty amusing and not some sort of “evidence” of any sort of sexism, but I do think it points out that a woman with even a passing competency in this areana [and I'm techie but nothing like, say, Karen Coombs] is such an anomaly that people just stop and stare. I’d like more nerdy lady friends who do this sort of stuff, so I’ve been reading up on it. I found a few good things to read and I’d like to share them with you.