Half Empty, Half Full

Leslie Hawthorn posted some stats about female participation in Google’s Summer of Code yesterday. It’s a case of half-empty, half-full: only 4% of student participants are female, which is much less than the 28% often cited for the industry as a whole (based on data from the year 2000—I suspect today’s number would be lower). On the other hand, it’s double the 2% that was bandied about at OSCON’05, and many times higher than the estimate Michelle Levesque and I came up with in 2004.

Leslie says:

...our community is passionately invested in getting more women into open source development. Each time I talk to members of our mentoring organizations, I consistently hear enthusiasm around having female students working with them. And where organizations haven't worked with women in the program, they are actively seeking ideas on how to attract more women to their projects... We'd like to hear more from the community on this topic: how can more women be attracted to open source development?

If you have ideas—in particular, if you have ideas about why female participation in open source is so much lower than participation in the industry as a whole, and what can be done to correct that—please let her know.

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