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A belated report on the mini-summit on women in free software

Oct 02, 2009, 22:32 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

"Nicholson explains that the summit focused on the issue from the FSF's position as a social justice movement like recycling and environmentalism. "When I look at the work that we do," Nicholson says, "I think we really ought to have allies among organizations that are working on related social justice issues. The absence of these allies is almost glaring at times. Then, when I think of why that might be, and what their first glance at us might suggest, I realize that, 'Oh, right, that's why we don't have those allies.'"

"In fact, the low involvement of women in free software -- reportedly, about 1.5% -- is so inconsistent with free software's goals for empowering the individual that Nicholson jokes, "We might as well put up a blinking banner on our site saying, 'We throw away paper, and we love Exxon.' Ignoring women while trying to be a social justice movement is not productive, and it's hurting us."

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