Software Freedom Day, Mozilla and Womoz

Izel

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I am very glad to have been present in the Software Freedom Day in Colombia.  Many cities celebrated this day, and Mozilla Colombia was invited to Manizales, a small city in the “coffee area”.  Although I live in Bogotá – the Capital and most important and biggest city in Colombia –  we decided to travel to Manizales (my friend Jefferson from Mozilla Colombia and I)  for two reasons:

  • Mozilla should be present in all cities and towns – and we don’t care if they are big or small.
  • People must understand that Mozilla is not only about Firefox and that Firefox is more than a web browser.

In our conference,  we spoke about the Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla Corporation, some legal items (not much, but enough I hope),  technical aspects and Mozilla philosophy. We used several supports:  slides, videos about Html5 and demos, but the most important point in our conference was an interview made with Guillermo Movia from Argentina about what he thinks of Mozilla.  We showed this video and discussed it.  In the video, Guillermo spoke of important aspects about the Open Web and  how important is to keep it open.  He mentioned a lot of examples of monopoly and how Mozilla is confronting them and the importance of standards.

We discussed all this. We showed the importance to use products such as Firefox. And people asked us technical questions of course (and we answered of course) but a guy asked me an important question,  in my opinion the most important of all:

“What is the difference between Firefox and other web browsers technically and philosophically speaking? Why must I use Firefox and not another one?”

Technical aspects were easy to answer. We supported our answers with some demos, speaking about the importance standards, Open Web, Open Source etc, but when we explained the philosophical aspects and how important Communities are to Mozilla, the way we (communities) work with them,  and the coherence between philosophy and community, they were all convinced and superficial things like “My web browser is faster and cleaner than Firefox” became less important.

We finished our conference talking about the different ways to contribute, showing projects and mentioning an important number: 16.8%. That number is the percentage of women who work in Mozilla. It is a high number compared to other open source projects, especially when you consider that women contribution is around 1% to 2%. In fact, in our conference room there was just one woman: me. Men in Colombia often wish that there were more women involved in open source or technical events, so when I mentioned this number, their eyes became wide open with amazement!

Our conference assistants,  Jefferson and I listened to the next conference about Open Suse. The speaker (a man) hadn’t attended our conference about Mozilla… He spoke and spoke and… suddenly, he looked at me and said:

“I don’t like Firefox,  I hate it because it uses a lot of memory. I use Opera, it’s not open source but I like it.”

People laughed of loud for a long time and when they finished their laugh, I said: Memory? Memory is to use it! And the people (who attended our conference) said:  Hey brother you are wrong!

After our conference and SFD, we concluded that people understood the importance of projects like Mozilla. We have 4 new members in our community and more people who understood the importance to have an Open Web.

Number of Women in Mozilla

Delphine

11

Quick post to announce that we’ve counted the number of women employed in Mozilla (so this means counting people from Mozilla Corp, Foundation, contractors and interns) with Pascal Chevrel and here are the numbers we have reached:

there are 68 women out of a total of 406 people, so this means a percentage of 16.75% women in Mozilla (Data collected from the Mozilla internal phone book). This is quite a good result when you consider that the percentage of women in FLOSS is more around 2% (according to FLOSSPOLS)

Of course this number will probably be fluctuating quickly as there are continuously new people coming to work in Mozilla, as well as employees leaving. But we’ll regularly keep track of these changes, and let you know if any significant change in numbers occurs.

Here is a quick diagram that gives an overview of what these women are working on and in which domains:

Also, the results of the internal WoMoz survey concerning the women active contributors in Mozilla are currently under analysis. The goal of this survey was to get a better overview of the profile of women contributing in Mozilla, as well as  gather their activities and perceptions in the institution. The main purpose of the survey is to detect areas of improvement related to gender issues in Mozilla and FLOSS communities. The WoMoz survey team is working right now on comparing their analysis, and we’ll of course share all this publicly once it’s done. But we do hope the numbers will be as positive for contributors as it is for the employees!

Stay tuned…

AkiraChix: Empowering Women In Africa

Delphine

3

Here is a presentation of an awesome African initiative and project from women in IT, that William Quiviger had the opportunity to encounter during his Mozilla Trip to Africa. They are based in Kenya, and it would be great to find ways to collaborate with them (and I’m sure we will 🙂 ). Please don’t hesitate to leave thoughts and ideas in comments below if you’re interested as well!

My name is Judith Owigar and I am the president of Akirachix. I also work as an IT Engineer in a Peace Building NGO in Kenya. Akirachix is a forum for women interested in technology. In our membership we have developers, system administrators, computer science students, digital marketers, graphic designers and ladies who are just interested in technology.  Our objectives are: networking, mentoring and sharing knowledge.

How do we achieve our objectives?

  • Encourage women in IT to participate in IT activities these include competitions, round tables and trainings.
  • Train younger girls in the use of basic technology.
  • Train women in business how to use technology for their benefit.
  • Encourage girls in high school to pursue careers in technology.

Current running project: the Akishika Training project

The aim of this project is to give technology skills to youth, mainly girls, who live in poor urban settlements. The current class has 30 students. 80% of the class is female. This is in line with our goal to empower girls through technology. The students are taught both programming and graphic design so that they may get jobs or start their own businesses at the end of the course. The planned duration of the course is one and a half years but this depends on the availability of training facilities. Currently the students are being trained in the Craft Silicon Foundation computer bus. The bus is a mobile classroom that moves to different areas of the city. The Akishika project is one of the projects it assists. Once we get class space the students will move from the bus which is not stable and fraught with damages to a more stable environment where they can be taught the more complicated courses like programming. In the future we would like to incorporate more wholesome education that includes extra-curricular activities like sports.

Read more about AkiraChix on their website here: http://akirachix.com/

Thanks Judith for this intro to AkiraChix! And thanks William for putting us in contact.

Links about Women in Computing & FLOSS

Delphine

3

Here are some links to articles, blog posts and websites about women in computing and FLOSS. We will be publishing these kinds of links for time to time concerning these topics, in order to have an overview of what’s new and what is currently going on.

That’s it for this time! Please let us know of any interesting links in comments of this blog, or on our mailing list. Thanks!

Atenas da Costa on WoMoz and Mozilla Argentina

Atenas da Costa

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My name is Atenas da Costa, I am 18 years old and I come from General Rodriguez, a town in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I study Software Engineering in Moron University and this is my first year, so I’m enjoying it a lot because I’m learning new things all the time.

I joined Mozilla thanks to my boyfriend Santiago “nuno” Hollmann, who taught and explained to me all about Mozilla Foundation and their mission. And now, one year later, I’m a member of the Argentina Mozilla Community: spreading the word, giving talks and doing marketing campaigns about Mozilla.
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