Ada Lovelace Day: the report



As I told you in the previous blogpost, we organized an event in the Mozilla Paris Office to celebrate the Ada Lovelace Day. It was a success! We were all very motivated to give a new momentum to WoMoz, and there were more men than women… Which proves that Mozilla’s men are open-minded, and ready to support women’s issues.

I know WoMoz has existed for 2 years now, but we thought it needed to get relaunched and the Ada Lovelace Day was a good pretext.

During the debates

1/ What is WoMoz, why does it exist?

Fist of all, we tried to define what WoMoz is according to us, i.e. what does it represents and what we should do through WoMoz. Here are a few things we talked about:

  • We all think it is important to contribute to change mentalities about women, even if we acknowledged that we are quite happy as women in FLOSS. Sexist men (“what are you doing here? You should be in a kitchen!”), flirtatious men… those men are rare. But they exist. And it’s important not to accept what they are. It’s important to show we can do as well as men in computer science like everywhere.
  • Of course women have the same skills than men, but it’s hard to establish oneself as a woman in computer science: when men get together they sometimes seem to forget there are any women around simply because there are so many men.  So we want to prove to women that FLOSS is very interesting and attractive, in order to get more women involved in FLOSS. And we’d like to fight against women’s loneliness.
  • We had a real debate about the purpose of WoMoz: we claim that women are equal to men, but by creating such a group, don’t we keep discrimination going on? We finally agreed that WoMoz was, above all, something that exists to welcome women, to help them gain self-confidence… And we’re not discriminatory: we accept men!
  • We acknowledged women can have different conceptions from men, but we really think that the union of these different point of views can improve FLOSS. So we want to help women to be self-confident enough to share their ideas.
  • What is often difficult, as a woman, is when you haven’t learnt computer science, but you love FLOSS: you can have the impression of being useless, the impression that only coding matters. That’s obviously wrong. And that’s another reason why FLOSS is awesome: there are a lot of ways to participate! So we thought WoMoz could also put all these ways of participation into relief, to show it to the public.

Do you agree with all these impressions? Or not? Do you you think we forgot something? Do you want to add anything? I’m waiting for your feedback!

2/ WoMoz tools

Then we tried to define a few tools we could use in order to improve women’s visibility in FLOSS, but also to improve FLOSS’ visibility. Besides talking about women’s issues, we also want to talk about FLOSS because we love it (and because we are as talented as men to talk about it :-)).

The idea is not to always talk about the difficulty of being a woman in a man’s world, but to improve ourselves, to show our skills and to prove our participation in FLOSS is an obvious fact.

  • The blog

It’s very sad to see the WoMoz’ blog is almost empty, whereas it appears on the Planet Mozilla and could be seen by a lot of people. So if you agree, we talked about writing dissertation and more on this blog: not always to talk about an event but also to gather links, to talk about books we’ve read (about women’s issues or about computer sciences), or to give a few ideas or thoughts we’ve had…

We think this blog should be more alive, with a lot of blog-posts — even if they are short. This blog should gather all our point of views, all our experiences… It’s a kind of reflex we should have, a habit we should take… Ernitatfela Because it’s a great way to raise attention, and to prove we are doing a lot of things, and we have a lot of things to tell!

So feel free to request your own account on this blog, and then to share anything you want about FLOSS or about women’s issues! And if you don’t want to create an account, you can send me what you’d like to talk about : clarista.mozilla at gmail dot com. I would be thrilled to post it 🙂

  • Interviews and portraits

From the beginning of WoMoz, we decided to do interviews or portraits of great women, about their careers, their experiences, how they managed to overcome prejudices, etc.

During the Ada Lovelace’s event we debated about the utility of those contributions and we found it was still a good idea, because it can reassure women and entice them a desire to participate to FLOSS. But it’s an idea that should be followed…

Julia interviewed a few people but you know certainly other extraordinary women! So here’s what we suggested: we could make a list of women we’d like to interview, and then, if someone volunteers, he tells us and we’ll wait for his text.

About videos, we acknowledged it’s something very nice but hard to make… And sometimes, when a video is too long, people stop before the end.

What do you think about this? Are there women you would like to talk about?

  • Finding new places to talk about FLOSS and women’s issues

Since we’d like to attract women (and more generally we’d like to attract more and more people in FLOSS), and since women are quite rare in computer schools or in computer science ’s events, we suggested to find some new places, some new types of events, to talk about WoMoz and Mozilla.

For instance, we could go to music festivals or artistic events (for a part of FLOSS could be considered as art…), etc. I’m sure we all know an event where we’re certain to find people to evangelize about FLOSS.

But the best idea we had (I really think so!) is to go into our former schools and colleges… In France, and I suppose it’s the same thing in other countries, we have some counselling forums in schools to help students choosing their future jobs. Schools often ask to their ex-students to come and talk about what they’ve become. It would be an opportunity to present FLOSS, to tell it is possible for a woman to enter the world of computer science, etc. If a lot of members of Mozilla’s community accept to do so (it would be only one or maybe 2 days per year), it would be a great way to spread the FLOSS’s philosophy, and to reassure women!

Boys and girls, we talked a lot!

3/ And now?

So here are the few ideas we had: I’m waiting for your feedback about it!

But overall we need, as always, volunteers! Boys and Girls who attended the Ada Lovelace Day were all very motivated, but motivation alone is not enough! I’d like to prepare a list of potential future contributions, from which everybody who wants to participate could pick an item in order to set up a planning session. What do you think of this?

Don’t forget that every paper should have introduction. It should contain several sentences (up to five) that lead into your main point of view. Try to end the introduction with the thesis statement which contains at least three points supported by you.



7 responses

  1. Tristan wrote on ::

    I’m al in favor of portraits of women (and more generally people who do not define themselves as men) in the Womoz blog!

    I offer my help to take pictures of these people. I plan to bring my camera to Berlin for the upcoming MozCamp to take pictures of volunteers, so please make sure that you send people over to me!


  2. Perrine wrote on :

    Great article 🙂
    I’m volunteer for the portraits and articles for the blog.

  3. Benjamin Gandon wrote on :

    You don’t know me yet but I’m following WoMoz activities and hope I can attend one of your meeting some day.

    Anyway, I didn’t know about the Jduchess network until right now and though you might know them already I didn’t see any mention of them in your blog yet. So, you might be interested joining their 25th October 2011 conference about women in the field of computer programing :

    They say they are looking for testimonies. I guess you’d be the right people about that 😉

  4. Loutry wrote on ::

    I agree with the first part and I also think that a short presentation of some women in FLOSS could be a good idea. Maybe a 5 minutes video patern could be enough, doesn’t it ?

    Moreover, I think that we want to be heard by young women with not necessary skills and I’m not sure that everyone of them know english (specially school girl). Could we think about translate this blog ? As Clarista said, they have a lot of way to contribute to FLOSS, so have a translation work could be a good think to involve women friends with no links in FLOSS into this community.

  5. Pingback from Women & Mozilla » [Part 2]Womoz Update at MozCamp: What’s Been Done, What’s to Come on ::

    […] Further information and details concerning some of these points can be found on Clarista’s blog post here […]

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