Fscons Keynote Free Software Feminism
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Fscons Keynote Free Software Feminism

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Women's contribution to Free Software

Women's contribution to Free Software

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Fscons Keynote Free Software Feminism Fscons Keynote Free Software Feminism Presentation Transcript

  • Free Software and Feminism Christina Haralanova FSCONS, 15 November 2009
  • The AWID Forum 2008 ● 2200 women gathered in Cape Town ● To discuss, unite and network ● Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) talking about software freedom
  • Feminism, power and movements Feminism strives for shifting power with the idea of equality in mind. Not with the aim to make men powerless, but to ensure powerless are represented.
  • Women in software development ● 1,1% of women in FOSS development, according to Flosspols (2002) ● 25-28% of women in proprietary software Reasons?
  • The software industry Free Software field ● Stereotyping kids ● Hard to start : lack of courses in school ● School divide curricula, finding ● Male gaming industry friends who can help ● Gap in computer ● Low confidence and initiation: 12 years for perception that you boys and 15 – for girls never know enough ● Challenges of a male ● Women are often dominated profession noticed more as women (unequal pay, glass than as contributors ceiling, etc.) ● Insults, *jokes*, doubts of her intelligence
  • Hierarchising contributions ● The super value of the coding skill in FOSS dev ● However, developer's profession consists of 30% coding ● “To make FLOSS successful, we need not only Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds, but also a great amount of volunteers reporting and fixing bugs, writing documentation, and more importantly, teach users how to use the program” (Lin, 2006).
  • Documentation  can  be  a  means  of  quality  insurance,  and  this power is far too seldom used, not only in Open Source  development.The  people  who  write  the  best  code  I  know  write  documentation  alongside  or  even  before  coding:  The  code has to follow documentation, otherwise it's a bug :), at  least documentation and code are never allowed to get out of  sync. Which means documentation_is_development, not just  something subordinate.     Patricia Jung,2005   about Debian Project
  • Why is this problematic?
  • ● Women and men contribute differently to FS development ● While men are overrepresented in tasks related to coding, women engage more often in writing documentation, graphic interface, moderation, training ● Not because women are not technical enough, but because not all of them have the necessary background and confidence contribute to the code.
  • (Re)define FS Development ● Two risks coming from the problem: ● Women's work remains invisible and less appreciated because of its less technical nature ● If all activities related to FOSS development are not taken as equally important, the software will become more oriented to the developers and not to the users ● Convergence between social and technical activities => a way to valorise women's contribution => more women will become visible
  • Conclusion ● 1% ● In the study “Portrait of FS in Quebec”, participated 16% of women ● Women at conferences are usually 10 % and > ● Female speakers at Oekonux = 23% ● Women in Drupal are more than 10% (core developers, leads, and others)