State of Sexism in FOSS

In May 2008, Alex Bayley (Skud) founded the Geek Feminism Wiki. It wasn’t the first site concerned with women’s issues in free and open source software (FOSS) — since the founding of LinuxChix in 1999, dozens of such sites had sprung up. However, the wiki members were the first to treat women’s issues politically, rather than as a matter for individuals or particular projects.

Over four years later, the effects have been felt throughout the community. Although opposition to women’s issues remains fierce on sites like Reddit and many private blogs, a growing number of community members are showing support for women’s issues, and dozens of groups have sprung up to deal with different aspects of feminism.

As Carla Schroder, freelance writer and veteran feminist says, “It used to be a few lonely voices getting shouted down and threatened. Now, a lot more people are comfortable discussing [such matters], and a lot more are speaking out. The biggest difference is that men are speaking up. I think the trolls are outnumbered at last.”