January 30, 2013

25 Women in 10 Free Software Organizations for GNOME’s Outreach Program for Women

25 women have been accepted to participate in the GNOME-led Outreach Program for Women for January 2 to April 2 remote internships with Deltacloud, Fedora, GNOME, JBoss, Mozilla, Open Technology Institute, OpenITP, OpenStack, Subversion, and Wikimedia. The internships are generously sponsored by the participating organizations, as well as Red Hat, Google, Rackspace, and Elego.

GNOME, which until the Summer of 2012 ran the program without other organizations, is benefiting from the program in measurable ways. 17% of GUADEC 2012 attendees were women (41 woman), compared to only 4% (6 women) among attendees affiliated with GNOME three years earlier at the Desktop Summit 2009. In a recent survey of Free Software newcomers to 12 organizations, 50% of GNOME respondents were women whereas only 6% of the respondents from other organizations were women (with 15% being the next highest concentration). Moreover, GNOME had 22 female respondents, which was a greater number than the 20 female respondents from all of the other organizations combined.

Interns from the most recent completed round of the Outreach Program for Women added to the long list of accomplishments of the 47 women who took part in the program since December 2010.

The dramatic increase in participation of women in GNOME and our experience with the Outreach Program for Women show that there are many women interested in contributing to Free Software and that reaching out to them with targeted opportunities is an effective way to help them get involved. We anticipate the expansion of the program will create a big shift in the demographic of Free Software contributors.

The collaborative application process, during which the applicants are asked to work on a small contribution to the project they are applying to work on with the help from the mentors, has been a cornerstone of the program since its first round. All accepted participants successfully completed the required contribution and showed that they have both passion and skills to work on their chosen projects. Coordinators and mentors from all participating organizations have done a tremendous job in helping scale the program and welcoming all applicants into their communities.

Red Hat is sponsoring seven internships – three for Fedora and one each for Deltacloud, GNOME, JBoss, and OpenStack. “GNOME’s Outreach Program for Women has already been effective at increasing participation of women in Free Software, and it’s exciting to see it expand to more communities that Red Hat contributes to,” said Brian Stevens, CTO and Vice President of Worldwide Engineering at Red Hat. “Red Hat is proud to provide sponsorship, coordination and engineering mentors for this transformative effort.”

The Wikimedia Foundation was a popular organization this round. For its applicants, it defined an open and participatory application process, in which applicants added their information to a common wiki page and members of the community provided endorsements and feedback on the wiki pages for individual applicants. “We’re delighted to participate in GNOME’s Outreach Program for Women,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “The whole point of Wikipedia is that everyone can contribute, and for it to reach its full potential requires participation from everybody, including women. The GNOME outreach program has proven to be a practical solution for engaging women — one that really works.”

Google continues to be a dedicated sponsor of the program, providing general funds for internships beyond the ones individual organizations were able to sponsor. “It is incredibly exciting to watch GNOME’s Outreach Program for Women expand so quickly and so well,” said Cat Allman, Program Manager at the Open Source Programs Office at Google. “This new involvement by other projects and organizations is a tribute to the skill and dedication of the GNOME team that created the program, particularly Marina Zhurakhinskaya and Karen Sandler, who organize it.”

The participants are asked to blog about their work at least once every two weeks during the internships. Their blogs are linked to on the program page and are aggregated on the Women in Free Software planet, in addition to being aggregated on the planets of their respective organizations.

The GNOME Foundation invites Free Software organizations and companies that support Free Software to join the next round which will take place from June to August, and have an application deadline in April. Please let Marina Zhurakhinskaya and Karen Sandler know if your organization is interested or if you have any questions by the end of February.

About GNOME and the GNOME Foundation

The GNOME Project was started in 1997 by two then-university students, Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero. Their aim: to produce a free (as in freedom) desktop environment. In the 15 years since then, the project has grown into a hugely successful enterprise. Used by millions of people across the world, GNOME is a popular desktop environment for GNU/Linux and UNIX-type operating systems. The desktop has been utilized in successful, large-scale enterprise and public deployments, and the project’s developer technologies are utilized by a large number of popular mobile device manufacturers.

The GNOME Foundation is an organization committed to supporting the advancement of GNOME. It is comprised of hundreds of volunteer developers and industry-leading companies. The Foundation is a member directed 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial, organizational and legal support to the GNOME project. The GNOME Foundation supports the pursuit of software freedom through the innovative, accessible and beautiful user experience created by GNOME contributors around the world. Find out more about GNOME and the GNOME Foundation through their websites: www.gnome.org / foundation.gnome.org
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Media Enquiries

Karen Sandler
GNOME Foundation Executive Director
email: gnome-press-contact@gnome.org
phone: +1-617-206-3947