Question: Where are the Women?

Without any prejudice, I do find it interesting that women here are rare. !!!

I wonder why that is?

Why after all this time TW discussion is still so very “male centric!” :slight_smile:

Just a comment

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Just yesterday I saw a post on Twitter about discovering TiddlyWiki, written by someone with a female photo as the user icon. Can’t find that post now, of course…

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Right. Women exist.

Obviously this is not just underuse on TW.
It is a broader issue.

I am interested in it.

Why are women the exception here?

TT (love to Muffin)

I often ask the same about my engineering classes


As a woman who has made her career in web dev, I have often noticed this, and wondered why. Here are some of the theories I have encountered:

  1. men are more likely to be interested in code and machines at a young age, whereas women are more interested in relationships with other people, and therefore they enter into college-level programming studies with a disadvantage
  2. men write most of the programming languages and APIs, therefore it is easier for men to understand them and excel with them
  3. women are just not as interested in coding as men, even into adulthood
  4. structural barriers and implicit cultural biases exist which discourage women from succeeding as programmers
  5. men are better at competing for higher wage positions and are better at seeing through the b.s. and intimidation tactics that we sometimes use as tech professionals to protect our job security

Probably all of these are a factor. It’s not just programming. I live in a blue city in a red state and almost every skilled tradesperson (painters, carpenters, etc) I encounter is male.

Maybe eventually the tide will turn. Videos like these are pretty fascinating to watch:


@JenniferS thanks for sharing your impression. As a self nominated male feminist and modern sceptic, I have always had my eye out for these things and agree with your observations, but would add two things;

  • Despite the odds against woman in my Career there has always being some, if not enough, and they mostly have being the best of colleagues and I have always done the best to support them. Especially helping them be heard.
    • The point here being I have always had colleagues I can work with to ensure equity.
  • Personal and social unconscious biases persists in us all some for good many for bad, eternal vigilance’s is necessary to ensure neglect does not cause us to treat others badly, intentionally or otherwise.

I also find culture can have a lot to do with whether women feel comfortable or accepted in mostly male communities. By observing these differences we can see what helps when we try and ensure “Equality of Opportunity”.

One statement of fact I often quote to destabilise prejudice against women;

The fastest Woman in the world may not be as fast as the fastest man in the world, but she is faster than 99% of all men.

  • Then start to look at other skills and attributes and you will see the roles reversed.

@TiddlyTweeter thanks for asking this question. I believe we have sufficient female members we may be able to improve this situation with a little help.

@TiddlyTweeter, how is it that you are confident that genders are recognizable here? I certainly have never presumed to know your gender! Do you know mine? (If so, you know more about me than I do. :wink: )

For what it’s worth, some of us don’t especially identify as “women” yet certainly don’t move in the world as “men” either. I rather enjoy inhabiting online spaces in a way that doesn’t self-code much on the gender front.

I certainly do bristle, though, when folks here address the forum with expressions like “gentlemen,” which sets up a dilemma between being “that person” who fixates on a concern that is “beside the point” (of whatever the thread is about), and being quietly irked.

(And, as you can guess from the above, adding in a reference to “ladies” [insert awkward-looking emoji here] is far from a happy solution. I’m quite fascinated by how respect and politeness demand gender-flagging in many communication contexts; it will take quite a bit of creative effort over time to change that pattern.)

Warm regards,



I try not to make assumptions and my “group” word is “Folks”, although sometimes the use of gendered statements is sometimes just redundancy in language. If for example I am addressing two obviously female names, I may say ladies when I am trying to address them directly ands not all folks, or all readers, conversely two male names, Gentlemen. This can occasionally be incorrect but is really just an attempt at thoughtful language.

Redundancy in language is just additional information that may reduce the possibility of error reading something.

I consider myself quite unbiased and always monitor myself for such errors, but since I tend not to Notice Gender or Race myself, or at least change the way I interact with different people, I do not always recognise when my language can be miss interpreted.

With all this said and done I do think we could try and address any perceived under representations with active out reach.

Men generally worship science, and women have another kind of wisdom.
I believe that science is a very small branch of the type of intelligence,
It’s just that we’re in a stage of human development where science worships…

Women know the nature of life, men are paranoid about the nature of the world…

This is a very complex philosophical proposition:
The progress of science and technology does not really increase the happiness of human beings,
The material life of any person today is far more than that of a king 500 years ago, but there is no feeling of a king at all…

please don’t stereotype men and women like this; that’s one of the reasons folks don’t feel welcome.


I understand gender equality as acknowledging differences and respecting them, not treating them indiscriminately. What I’m trying to say is that women are born with qualities that men don’t have, it’s just that those things aren’t considered valuable. Such statistical differences should certainly not be applied to every individual.

I don’t get into this topic anymore…it’s easy to disagree and has little to do with TW, and my English doesn’t make sense…

I would gently suggest that (as TT rightly observed) it’s not that women and other non-male-aligned people aren’t using TiddlyWiki, but that they’re less eager to participate in spaces which they perceive to be male-dominated, and that this is likely to due to the sorts of attention they fear they might receive. While I certainly don’t want to ascribe prejudice or malice to anyone posting here, it can be tiring to be treated as a rarity or a novelty. For instance, as Springer pointed out, the title of this thread makes the implicit assumption that all participants are male unless otherwise indicated - and as a woman, this is not a particularly welcoming stance.

From personal and anecdotal experience, I think women may also be less likely to jump into conversation unless they feel they have something germane and significant to offer - that is, unless they feel they can speak from a position of relative expertise. For my own part, though I use TW on a near-daily basis and have been a regular reader since Talk Tiddlywiki’s inception, I’ve only made two or three actual posts, and only when I thought I could provide pertinent information. I don’t consider myself a developer, and though my own wiki is huge and highly customized, all my solutions are so purpose-built that they’d require extensive reworking to be of use or interest to the broader community. I do find a lot of help and inspiration in the discussion here and on the Google group - but I learn mostly by “listening” rather than talking, and I would hazard that I’m far from the only silent student.


Since @TiddlyTweeter and you have expressed curiosity: This kind of pattern (calling someone “ladies” if they seem to have female-coded names) may actually contribute to some folks self-selecting for gender-unreadability.

While “ladies” is commonly thought to be polite, the concept of being a “lady” is much more loaded with stereotypical and oppressive associations than is “gentleman.” (What counts as “unladylike” includes lots of behavior that doesn’t raise an eyebrow among “gentlemen.”)

To be clear: there is no ideal solution that you (@TW_Tones) or any other individual can enact to “solve” this problem, so this isn’t a personal critique. We have a culture in which personhood isn’t fully recognized until gender is specified. (“We had a baby.” “Oh, what did you have?”) And yet being conceptualized within a gender rubric means invoking norms that are a daily drag for many of us.

Gender-patterns such as the one @list alludes to above are vulnerable to confirmation bias; those who most obviously buck the pattern can be glossed over as rarities, or as not real men, or real women (etc.), and we literally won’t notice many exceptions when what we encounter doesn’t “make sense” in light of our expectations.

While some folks invest great effort in stereotype-busting (Real girls can code! Real boys can be vulnerable!), others just walk away from the whole game because we have other priorities. Some — maybe @jerojasro among them — feel compelled to offer an intervention, but only concisely.

I find it delightful to have online spaces in which our personalities don’t always have to march under the banner of this or that gender! At the same time, I chime in during conversations like this because I realize that some people do have a deeply personal relation to gender, and some of these folks can end up feeling exhausted by warding off stereotypes – even when these are just free-floating from the wider culture rather than explicit, and even when many people in a forum would like to see themselves as free of bias.

Much social science research shows that bias is deeper and less conscious than explicit stereotypical beliefs, so we don’t actually know our own biases. Indeed, biases can’t be neatly isolated from social pattern-recognition (which is essential for making our way in the social world). So, it may be wiser to say that we strive to recognize and challenge our biases, rather than to assert that we have none.

Cheers, and thanks for all who have taken interest so far.


Thanks @Springer for your perspective. Perhaps we can’t on our own

but I personally take responsibility for my own actions, avoid stereo types, and act to avoid inappropriate discrimination on any parameter.

I suppose a point I was trying to make despite my active anti-unfair discrimination approach to life, my use of words gentlemen and ladies is only as redundancy in language or to indicate respect. I use it less and less anyway, I don’t think many can see from a distance or in an online forum that I take an anti-discrimination activist position. At best I succeed by “not appearing” to unfairly discriminate.

This reminds me of a meme of a friend (an older friend) that often when he referred to a few of us as “gentlemen” he would always say “I am using that term lightly”.

I would urge those who find themselves at the end of unfair discrimination to “hold their ground” but then realise that it is not always easy to spot who else is supportive and not discriminating.

I have a ton of writing wikis (as you’re aware), but those are far outnumbered by my wife’s collection (dare I say atheneum). Being a life-long academic, she’s got TWs whose sole purpose is to manage other TWs. I recall when she hit 37 wikis and that was over a decade ago. I don’t even know how many she has now – probably more than she had last week (get the picture?).

Of her, two things are true:

  1. Updating wikis is a chore.
  2. She won’t ever join TalkTW (quote: “I want to know what time it is, not how to build a clock”)
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A brilliant response!


Shame she won’t but I share that sentiment too sometimes haha

I have a coworker who feels like a gender swapped version of myself 99% of the time, so naturally I showed her TiddlyWiki, and while she was interested in how it worked and what I had done with my own wikis, she wasn’t particularly inclined to try it out.

When I asked why, I found out she finds more versatility with other applications just because of familiarity (She uses a lot of excel.) and the resources available to find out more, like videos and social media groups, where there are other girls she can message.

I’m not sure how related this might be, but I imagine there are plenty of women who are or could be interested in TW, but joining the community of others here might be a bit daunting(?), or not interesting in presentation (which really just comes down to the personal preferences of that person).

I often make comparisons to videogames when discussing TW, and this is another good example IMO. A common observation (and please forgive me if this seems like generalizing, that isn’t my intention.) I have seen is how girls generally stick to other girls when in groups for gaming online, and it seems like that’s both for safety and general preference in what company they like to keep. I imagine the same would be for T.TW?

Common issues with online pvp games for example, is misogyny and harassment, primarily impart due to the natural anonymity gamers benefit from such games; games like CS:GO and Valorant come to mind, unfortunately. (not that they are bad games, or filled with a majority of biased players, of course. Just a notable amount of bad apples at present.)

I imagine with time there will be more diversity here, but as it stands, all we can really do is try to be open and welcoming to any who try to join in on discussions, since Tiddlywiki is relatively aged and a bit obscure, and is quite new. :smiley:

that’s just my little bit of input on the matter, I’ve no idea if it really amounts to the discussion, but wanted to chime in, it looked like fun ^^

I am female, and a total TiddlyWiki Geek. I’m currently working on publishing old books that are in the public domain. I’ve used tiddlywiki for gaming and keeping track of everything.

Speaking for myself, when I was in high school in the 70s I didn’t take classes in Basic because I thought computers were boring. Two decades later, when I discovered HTML and CSS and found that I could paint web pages by typing, that’s when I got sucked in. I’ve tried to learn coding a few times but lost interest. Maybe that’s because, as a female, I’m more artistic than technical, or maybe it’s just my individual personality. Dunno.

I have no problem with being called a ‘Lady,’ but I balk when men say “Hi gorgeous,” or “you have a beautiful smile” (neither of which is true). FYI, this has never happened on this forum, it’s mainly on Facebook .(All of these lead-ins strangely seem to be from single white men of my age group with good incomes and respectable jobs - who have surprisingly short timelines . The joke’s on them - or whatever bot is running them - because that type of man has never been my “type.” Well, also I’m married and monogamous).

Mostly I don’t think about gender much when I’m online, unless it is relevant to the conversation.

  • Females/males can be socialised differently when young and it has proven impossible to separate nature from nurture. Life experiences or personal characteristics can change what we were socialised into.

What I have learned from life and a desire to avoid any unfair bias is the differences “between women” is at least as great as “between women and men”, and similarly the differences “between men” is as great as “between men and women”.

  • Given these facts of variation in humanity and the complexity of personalities and thinking, gender etc… We need to accept when we interact with someone else, another individual, they can be anywhere on a range of spectrum’s and as a result generalisations or stereo-types are effectively irrelevant.
  • There is little or no value applying the generalisations or averages to individuals, averages fluctuate and are related to populations not to the individuals within a population.
  • Treat each person as an individual and don’t assume anything.

These rules apply to any area where we generalise;
What I have learned from life and a desire to avoid any unfair bias is the differences “Within genders/races/cultures/origins” is at least as great as “between races/cultures/origins”.

We generalise more when we are ignorant about a gender, race, culture, origins and we need to suspend our judgement even more, when interacting with an individual.

By the way this means when you see someone being sexist or racist etc… you are seeing someone who is ignorant and can usually simply dismiss them as such.

“Paint web pages by typing”. Yes!!!