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From Sharan Foga <>
Subject Re: Encouraging Diversity - Update 1
Date Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:09:21 GMT
Hi Everyone

Thanks very much for the feedback. I think this topic has a lot of 
dimensions and it depends how far we want to go with it, and simple is 
always a good place to start.

I'm still in the process of gathering feedback, from IT Womens Groups, 
Female Students and Developers to try to understand how and where we 
could communicate to them and promote the ASF as welcoming place to be. 
(As an example one idea that came in from the Pyladies group is that 
each of our projects that use python could write an article or blog post 
about themselves. Pyladies could then use that article or blog post as a 
way to promote the ASF project to their members...)

On the existing statistics side, I'm currently working with Sally to put 
forward a proposal for draft survey that we could use to survey our 
members or committers. As you say we wont know how representative it 
would be but we would have some concrete figures that we could use as a 
base. I think that with this survey proposal we are trying to do 
something new and as well as the statistics, another main purpose is to 
see if this process of collecting information works and if it does, then 
could it be something that any of our projects could repeat if they 
wanted to.

I'll continue to work on this and post any updates.


On 31/05/16 17:59, William A Rowe Jr wrote:
> On Mon, May 30, 2016 at 10:42 AM, Ted Dunning <> wrote:
>> Sharan,
>> One possible explanation of an under-representation problem (assuming we
>> have one ... you point out rightly that we should measure first) is that
>> *other* factors have given the impression that open source communities are
>> unfriendly.
> I'm not sure 'unfriendly' is the label we are most worried about. We've
> heard
> from a number of female ASF members that their gender has not had a very
> significant impact on their personal participation. YMMV, and obviously we
> had heard of other very serious issues, not that these reflected as much on
> the organization, but behavior of individuals in conjunction with the
> organization.
> The under-representation issue -is- rooted in the origin story and formation
> of the foundation. I don't claim (I doubt anyone would) that the
> self-selection
> of some 40 all-male Foundation Members (after the inception - through the
> year 1 members nominations) had any malice, or ill intent, or even
> exclusion.
> This reflected that in these first 3 projects of the foundation, the
> participants
> were overwhelmingly male, and nominations were based on their contributions.
> These were very small communities and reflected those who reached out
> to mailing lists with specific needs and concerns about these few projects.
> They engaged, and eventually contributed back to those projects in some
> not-so-small measure. The fact that they were largely fraternal (both coding
> and socially speaking, and was the tone of the mailing lists) and had *very
> small sample size* of those hackers who were working in only a few specific
> technology spaces suggests this result is not surprising, and doesn't
> suggest
> active exclusion.
> Rolling forward to today, we now cover a large number of technology spaces
> with around 200 different projects, and enjoy the contributions of many
> thousands of contributors. Some 400+ of these contributors are recognized
> as foundation members. We can break down our challenges in a couple of
> dimensions...
> 1. Is the foundation membership representative of the committers as a whole?
> Since this is a tough nut to crack, let's look at simpler questions...
> 2. Are there some projects underrepresented by the foundation membership?
> 3. Are there some projects with a much more diverse contributor base than
>     others?
> 4. Of the more diverse projects, what are the social and technological bits
>     that those communities are doing right (or what did they simply stumble
>     into for a more appealing space to a more diverse group of contributors?)
> 5. What are the obstacles to including more contributors on the committer
>     lists and PMC rosters of our projects?
> 6. What are the obstacles to identifying the committer/PMC members of
>     underrepresented projects to the foundation membership for inclusion?
> Few of these questions really speak to gender bias per se, and have been
> active concerns of many members over the past 17 years. I think exploring
> all of these questions with additional data collection about diversity
> (gender,
> geographic, etc) is always a worthwhile pursuit.
> Cheers,
> Bill

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