Women in OSS

OSS doesn’t seem to be a very enticing career for women unfortunately. Over all my years of OSS projects, I can’t think of any where women outnumbered the men. However, my OSS projects have been interspersed with a variety of other projects where women have dominated the team numbers.

Looking back, there’s almost perfect correlation between the positivity of the project environment and the proportion of women on the team. The teams with few or no women have definitely been the most challenging projects from a morale perspective and least balanced.

The level of “success” of the project also seems to be correlated, but perhaps not quite so obviously to me, probably due to the larger number of factors that contribute to project success.

I’m not qualified to offer suggestions on why there aren’t more women in OSS (or IT / telco) but based on my experiences, we definitely need more to improve the health of our working environments.

Your thoughts?
I’d particularly love to hear from any OSS-women reading this blog.

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One Response

  1. HI Ryan,

    I’m a new reader but happy that I can find a place to discuss what has been a long obsession and career path for me. As for women in OSS, my view is that they were business consumers but maybe not so much as an Application Architect. As a woman worker-be in this space it has been a challenge to get past the “Bell-Head”/ “Good Ol-Boy” school of thought because we were still seen as “operators” not thought leaders.
    Happily that is changing, but we need more to be sure. I also think that as OSS evolves into a platform to support all technology layers, many of the old processes/requirements (don’t get me started on NC/NCI) can be retired or drastically improved.

    That’s my two cents 🙂 Great blog, I’ll keep reading!

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