At Red Hat Summit, I was presented with the first ever Women in Open Source Award. I’m really honored to be recognized for both my technical contributions, and my efforts to make open source communities a better place.
For the past two years, I’ve worked as a coordinator for Outreachy, a program providing paid internships in open source to women (cis and trans), trans men, genderqueer people, and all participants of the Ascend Project. I truly believe that newcomers to open source thrive when they’re provided mentorship, a supportive community, and good documentation. When newcomers build relationships with their mentors and present their work at conferences, it leads to job opportunities working in open source.
That’s why I’m donating the $2,500 stipend for the Women in Open Source Award to Outreachy. It may go towards internships, travel funding, or even paying consultants to advise us as we expand the program to include other underrepresented minorities. There’s a saying in the activist community, “Nothing about us without us.” We want to make sure that people of color are involved with the effort to expand Outreachy, and it’s unfair to ask those people to perform free labor when they’re already paid less than their white coworkers, and they may even be penalized for promoting diversity.
I urge people to donate to Outreachy, so we can get more Outreachy interns to conferences, and expand our internships to bring more underrepresented minorities into open source. Any donation amount helps, and it’s tax deductible!
For the last two years, I’ve been going to the conferences the Ada Initiative has put on for women in open technology and culture. It’s a really awesome experience to be in a room full of hundreds of techie, geeky women. There’s everyone from open source developers to security analysts, hardware hackers to fan fiction writers. Heck, I even met a documentary producer at the last AdaCamp in San Francisco.
One of the most important things I learned at Ada Camp was how to combat impostor syndrome. It’s basically the feeling that you’re not really that smart, that your accomplishments are just luck, and some day, someone is going to find out, and you’ll get humiliated/fired/shunned. It’s surprising the number of highly successful tech women who experience this feeling. I used to have the worst case of impostor syndrome, until the women at AdaCamp taught me how to fight it.
The LKML thread where I stood up against verbal abuse has been winding down. I’ve posted a summary of my position. As I noted, I have been listening and learning from the arguments on the thread. In the course of the thread, my personal viewpoints have changed subtly, and I’ve chosen to push for change in areas where I think I might actually make headway. It wouldn’t be a discussion if no one changed their mind.
Nothing is going to change overnight in the Linux kernel community. As Casey Schaufler pointed out, I cannot force or demand change. I’m merely asking to discuss the possibly of change at the Linux Kernel Summit.
Thank you for listening and debating on this subject. Open discussion can only improve our community.
I’m standing up against verbal abuse on LKML. I will happily stand alone, however you can also support this cause. Please speak up, either by resharing this post, or commenting on this post with words of support. If you dare, you can also reply to my LKML email.
“Where do I put this fire? This bright red feeling? This Tiger Lily down my mouth? He wants to grow to 20 feet tall… I’m so tired of being shy; I’m not that girl any more. I’m not that straight-A anymore.”
Examples of verbally abusive behavior on the Linux kernel mailing list:
This week, Facebook came under fire for not pulling several pages that promote violence against women. Pages like “Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs” remained up, even after they were reported to Facebook. After a dedicated campaign to get ad sponsors to pull their ads, Facebook said they would retrain staff to take down pages that promote gender-based violence.
That’s not enough, in my opinion. Sending the message that violence against women isn’t socially acceptable on Facebook is a step in the right direction. However, silencing the conversation on social media does not change how our culture views violence against women and rape. Thoughts on how to prevent rape and violence are below the cut.
My friend Maria (@ubergeeke) once mentioned reading about someone’s Zora list.
Without further ado, here is my Zora list:
– Eat 70% of my food from my garden for one summer. Yes, that’s a big garden.
– Sail the San Juan Islands with my husband in our boat.
– Live out of panniers, on a bike, for a month, with no plan and no reservations. This gets at the heart of my greatest fear: being homeless without a plan.
– Be one of those people who the neighbors go to have tea with and talk over their troubles.
– Teach someone to read. Watch them grow and help them to love learning, exploring, and being curious.
– Learn to spin a yarn about my adventures (my family’s tradition).
Last night we had “going away” dinner at Arabian Breeze because my friend Deepak is leaving Montavista Linux. Deepak isn’t actually moving away from Portland. He’ll be working from home and occasionally flying to Boston to meet with his coworkers at the “One Laptop Per Child” (OLPC) company. It sounds like OLPC still wants to work on the Sugar UI and Linux infrastructure, despite Nicholas Negroponte’s recent remarks about developing Sugar for Windows.
The dinner was good, but it got off to a harrowing start. When I arrived at the restaurant, I discovered that there was a giant warehouse fire across the street. The police had the entire block (including the restaurant) roped off with caution tape. They did let us through, once we explained where we wanted to go. I guess they just didn’t want a crowd of gawkers hanging near the fire.
Still, it was a little dumb of us to continue eating at the restaurant, considering there was a gas station next door.