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RE: Is the IETF aging?

> From: Mary Barnes [mary.ietf.barnes@xxxxxxxxx]
> Personally, I think IETF has far more of an issue when it comes to
> cultural and gender diversity than it does with not having enough
> younger folks.  This is particularly visible in the leadership.

Given that one moves up in the IETF through gaining the respect of
people in the IETF (and particularly, those in leadership postitions),
it would be difficult to get true cultural diversity.  More likely, we
could assemble a panel of people with any required distribution of
demographic characteristics, but all of them would think like

Gender diversity is similar to aging, IMO, in that it is hindered by
an accumulation of older participants in leadership positions.

One of the strengths of the IETF is that one acquires positions of
power gradually by accumulating respect of one's peers in the IETF --
that ensures that a company with an economic interest in a technical
decision has a hard time "packing" the IETF's decision-making process.
But that structure automatically makes the culture conservative, and
the higher leadership roles accumulate people with much experience.

John Klensin's concept of "leadership development" seems to be a way
to counteract this.  That is, to be aware of the need to keep the
leadership corps continuously refreshed with younger and
less-experienced people.  Which more or less requires a method of
culling the greybeards, given that they don't conveniently die when
they're 50.

Once there's an ongoing upward movement of people into leadership
positions, it's possible to ask whether women are specifically
inhibited from doing so, and if so, why and what can be done about it.


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