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.
Earlier this year the New York Times sparked a debate when they reported on the underrepresentation of women among editors on Wikipedia: "the free site that anyone can edit". The Times reported that just 15% of Wikipedia editors are women. The gap caused the Wikimedia Foundation to aim to raise that number to 25% by 2015, a worthy if unambitious goal.