by Swapnil Bhartiya

How the Linux Foundation is increasing the woman force in open source

Mar 03, 2016
LinuxOpen Source

The Linux Foundation is partnering with Woman Who Code to encourage more women to contribute to open source.rn

I have been attending LinuxCon since 2009 and since last year they have started a ‘childcare’ at the event so moms and dads can drop their kids there and attend the events. The Linux Foundation is now partnering with Women Who Code to increase participation of women in the foundation’s events.

“Increasing diversity in technology takes more than one approach. From our partnership with Goodwill to support people from disadvantaged backgrounds to our work with Women Who Code and a variety of other organizations, we hope to have at least a small impact on this important issue,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “We’re looking forward to meeting and working with women from the program and helping them to advance their careers and contributions in the open source community.”

Under the partnership the foundation will offer free and discounted passes to its events for Women Who Code members. The foundation will also make an initial donation to the organization to support its efforts to support women in technology.

The foundation will also offer diversity scholarships to attend events, onsite childcare, mothers’ rooms, and enforcing a respectful code of conduct for attendees.

“The Linux Foundation sets the example for other organizations that want to increase the number of women contributing to technology development,” said Zassmin Montes de Oca, WWCode Board Vice Chair. “We look forward to their continued sponsorship to propel women’s careers in technology.”

The foundation also recently announced a partnership with Goodwill to increase access to Linux training and certification to disadvantaged populations.

The Linux Foundation isn’t the only organization to address diversity in open source. Software Freedom Conservancy’s Outreachy program, which grew out of its Outreach Program for Women and is expanding to include more underrepresented groups is one such example.

Already many major open source projects have women as leaders: SanDisk’s Open Source initiative is being headed by a woman Nithya Ruff; KDE e.V. has Lydia Pintscher as the president; Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker as executive chairwoman; Cloud Foundry has Stormy Peters as VP of Technical Evangelism at Cloud Foundry Foundation; Karen Sandler is the Executive Director at Software Freedom Conservancy; Jennifer Cloer is the Vice President of Communications at The Linux Foundation…and the list goes on and on.

It will be interesting to watch others of more diverse backgrounds join their ranks as the efforts by the Linux Foundation, Women Who Code, Outreachy, and others take root in the open source world.