Supporting the Ada Initiative

Tue, 21 Jun 2011 20:00:06 +0000

The Ada Initiative is a relatively new organisation that has been started to help increase the participation of women in, among other things, open source software. Now the question some people might ask, in fact do ask, is why does the open source community need such an organisation at all? Well, firstly the participation rate is currently very small (< 2% according a 2002 survey [PDF]). I think this low participartion rate matters on two fronts.

Firstly, it has an overall negative impact of the open source community. There is the direct loss attributable to the fact that we miss out on the contributions of many excellent developers. Additionally, the are indirect costs. Also I think that having a diverse community working on any project brings a variety of ideas to the project that can dramatically improve the project.

Secondly, and more importantly, it matters to all the inviduals who miss out on participating in the open source community. I don’t think I really appreciated this perspective before becoming a father. I’d be pretty upset if my daughter missed out on being involved in the open source community because of some of the unnecessary challenges that currently exist for women in the community.

I really hope that if my daughter wants to get involved in the open source the Ada Initiative will be there to support. With any luck many of the challenges women currently face in the open source community will have been solved.

If your are involved in the open source community and would like to see more done to support women with in the community, I’d encourage you to become an Ada Initiative supporter.

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