Women in Free Software: Findings from FLOSSPOLS

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1 : Findings from FLOSSPOLS University of Cambridge/University of Pennsylvania

2 Proprietary Software 28.00% Male developers Female developers 72.00%

3 Free Software 1.50% Male developers Female developers 98.50%

4 WHY?

5 FLOSSPOLS Project Studies on free/open source software Funded by the European Commission March 2004 to February 2006 Three strands: one on gender

6 Gender Strand: Aims Produce first study of gender in F/LOSS Gather socioeconomic data Identify reasons for the gender gap Establish recommendations for change

7 Methodology Ethnography: Unstructured and semi-structured interviews Participant observation Quantitative methodology: Online survey (1541 participants)

8 Would more female participants be better for the whole F/LOSS community? % 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% Yes No 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Male Female

9 Are women just not interested in F/LOSS? Are they being excluded?

10 Unconscious Exclusion Joking about women Using he in documentation Assuming that society is gender-blind Viewing coding as superior to other skills

11 Regarding the F/LOSS community as a whole, have you ever observed discriminatory behaviour toward women? % 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% Yes No 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Male Female

12 Do I have to have a beard?

13 Do I have to have a beard?

14 Do women have as much experience with computers?

15 Later, later, later... Male Female Age of first computer use Age of first computer possession Year of intial F/LOSS involvement

16 Is code the only thing that matters?

17 Typical Tasks Men: Writing code Testing Bug reports Technical tasks? Women: Documentation Organising events Translation Social tasks?

18 For whom is it easier to get acknowledgement for F/LOSS work? % 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% Men Women Gender doesn't matter 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Male Female

19 Do women get more attention for their gender or their skills?

20 Women often get more attention as a woman than as a F/LOSS participant % 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% Very true Mainly true Mainly False Very false 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Male Female

21 Have you ever been asked on a date by another F/LOSS participant? % 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% Often Seldom Never 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Male Female

22 Are there too many flamewars?

23 Do women have less time for F/LOSS?

24 Do women have less time than men to participate in F/LOSS? % 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% Very true Mainly true Mainly False Very false 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Male Female

25 Summary Unconscious exclusion Later involvement in computing More diverse skills Less time for F/LOSS

26 Women and men have very different F/LOSS experiences

27 What Can Be Done? The Debian Women Project

28 Debian GNU/Linux Linux kernel, GNU OS tools >15,490 packages 100% free software Developed by a group of volunteers

29 Universal Operating System?

30 The Debian Women Project Founded in 2004 First such project for a Linux distribution

31 What We Do Provide role models Give tutorials on Debian-related topics Mentoring project Presentations at conferences Word-of-mouth advocacy

32 Debian Women Isn't... A dating agency Solely concerned with support Segregated An affirmative action project Striving for a Disney-like atmosphere

33 Who Are We?

34 Unexpected Results Many men are actively involved Respect from the Debian community Good for women = good for everyone 12 women in the NM queue!

35 It's never too late to change the world!

36 Resources

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