Last week, I spoke with Valerie Aurora of the Ada Initiative about women in open source and how to get more women involved. In Part 2 of women in the open source world, I speak with Sumana Harihareswara (volunteer development coordinator at the Wikimedia Foundation) who I also met at the Open Sourcebridge conference, where she was named on of three Open Source Citizens at the conference (read her recap of the conference here!)
In the following interview, Sumana doesn't just discuss the challenges that open source software and communities face when it comes to women, but open source's potential for changing the world through diverse voices. It's not just about getting more women involved--breaking down language, access, and ability barriers from the get-go is also necessary. In the following interview, Sumana talks about initiatives at Wikimedia to reach out since its lack of women contributors made headlines, the potential for open source social justice, and tips for your first go at editing Wikipedia. Also she quotes Mr. Rogers AND the Bible, and explains kyriarchy with a Hyperbole and a Half cartoon, which is awesome.
I recently attended Open Sourcebridge, a tech conference in Portland Oregon, and got to speak with some really incredible women in the open source world. (Hopefully I'll be filling the little void left in the hearts of feminerds since Jarrah Hodge's series ended!) Open Source is a method of development that's publicly available, collaborative, and peer reviewed. If you read the Bitch website on the reg (which uses Drupal), or browsed the Internet using Mozilla Firefox, or blogged with WordPress, you have used Open Source software! Wikipedia is an example of open source content, where users peer edit the work of others publicly.
Like a lot of cool things that should be open to everyone, the open source community can be a bit of a boys' club. I spoke with Valerie Aurora, programmer, Geek Feminism contributor, and, with Mary Gardiner, co-founder of the Ada Initiative, a "non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the participation of women in open technology and culture." We spoke about how the Ada Initiative came about, the anti-harassment conference policy she helped put together, and how the tech world can be hostile to women.