Sunday, November 05, 2006

WHERE ARE THE WOMEN?

(In a Lernu.net forum, someone asked why the Esperanto movement didn't seem to attract women. Our guest bloger today is Erin Piateski, a.k.a. "Erinja," a Lernu team member. I thought her comments were very perceptive, and with her permission, I publish them here. The Esperanto translation is my own and I alone am responsible for any errors.)

In my experience at North American Esperanto gatherings, men outnumber women, but a lot. I think in the U.S. Eo tends to attract a geeky computery sort of guy. At least the ones that show up at the various Eo gatherings seem to be disproportionately computer programmers, mathemeticians, and scientists. I'm not sure why women don't learn but almost all of my North American "esperanto friends" are male.

In Western Europe it's a little more equal, but I've only attended a couple events there and I wasn't exactly counting up males vs females, but I remember that it wasn't so overwhelmingly male like it tends to be here (at least on the U.S. East Coast.)

In Eastern Europe --- Russia, Ukraine, etc. --- women outnumber men. I am not sure why this is but it has been my experience that people in different cultures decide to learn Esperanto for widely different reasons. My friend did an informal poll to this effect --- most Americans said they were learning because they are interested in learning languages or interested in meeting people from other countries. Many Brazilians mentioned religious or spiritual reasons in addtion to the international communication. Many Europeans learn it to take part in the fun events (and other reasons too, I'm sure.)

In any case, if you want to use Eo to meet women, start to frequent Russian Eo groups!

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