Teaching New Web Technologies to Children in a Tunisian Medico-Social & Educational Center

mermi

6

Following the Womoz session lead by Claire and Delphine in January 2012 in Tunisia, a team of Tunisian Mozillian Women was born. A small group, indeed, (only three Mozillian women, although strongly supported by our Tunisians “MenMoz” as they like to repeat), but with lots of projects in mind.

It’s owing to the young Manel, one of the Tunisian “Wonder Womoz” that the first project was born. It aims to promote the effort and involvement of Tunisian women/girls in the Free Software field. Many girls have contacted us to get involved in the Womoz action, and so we thought it was time to start working on a real, concrete project.

Through this project we designed three axes for our little community:

  • Start the first Tunisian Womoz action
  • Incite women to give and share their knowledge in this field through an action
  • Make it a social action in order to teach competitive spirit to “disabled” children and to make them enjoy the learning of new technologies.

We started our work two months ago in two centers. The first is a medico-social and educational center for children and teenagers with mild or medium mental handicap, the Walid Centre and the second is a Superior Special Education Institute

This project is about training “disabled” pupils from different specialized centers in Tunis in order to let them learn the basics of Web culture and the technologies required to create and edit a Web page. Of course, the Mozilla “Webmaker” project was a perfect fit to help us achieve our goal.

“All information on this project can be found in this Pad” . Don’t hesitate to share your ideas or suggestions with us!

WoMoz Updates and Meetings

Delphine

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Women & Mozilla meetings have changed in 2012!

In fact, our meetings are now held every second Wednesday, at 16:00 UTC (8am Pacific), on IRC channel #womoz (irc://irc.mozilla.org/womoz)

For a complete list of our past and future meetings, as well as a list of all our agendas and meeting notes, please visit the Mozilla Wiki here.

Next meeting will be held tomorrow, Wednesday November 21, 2012. Here is the Agenda for the meeting: https://etherpad.mozilla.org/WoMozMeeting21-11-12

Please feel free to add topics you would like to see discussed during the meeting. Please note that everyone is welcome to participate at WoMoz meetings! 🙂

Here are our last meeting notes: https://etherpad.mozilla.org/WoMozMeeting07-11-12

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s meeting and notes!

New WoMoz Website

Delphine

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A new version of the WoMoz website is now live! You can check it out here: http://www.womoz.org/

This is a beta version of our new website, we are going to continue improving it over time.

Many thanks to the WoMoz community for their continuous help with this, and to the WoMoz website team who actively helped out. And thanks to Milos for his presence and support, and for pushing it live today.

Hope you’ll enjoy this new site. And feel free to give any feedback and ideas for improvement!

Meet Agnès Crepet, from Duchess

Delphine

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Agnès Crepet

This is an interview of Agnès Crepet, from the Java women’s group “Duchess” (by Delphine Lebédel).

  • How did you get interested in computers and programming?

My family is definitely not a geek family (my mother is just starting in computing!), but I met some friends just before my twenties who were hooked on Linux. We started in the late 90’s to organize Linux Party with our collective named Avataria (http://www.avataria.org) with which we organize gigs as well. My friends were involved or working in the System Administration side, so I decided to discover the Programming side, perhaps to develop new skills in the team. I was then studying at university, so I decided to change my education way : I choose Computing instead of Natural Sciences!

And now, I work in the software engineering field, especially in the Java technologies, as Developer, Architect or Trainer. I have been using Java since 1999, implementing multiple kind of applications. I am currently starting a software company named Ninja Squad, with which we want to promote Software Craftsmanship and improve software development’s image in France!

  • Can you explain a bit what Duchess is and why this group exists?

The “official” presentation of Duchess : “Duchess is a global network for connecting women in Java technology. Its mission is to promote women in this sector and to provide a platform through which women can connect with each other and get involved in the greater Java community.”

This group exists because I think it’s difficult for women to be visible in the Java community which is full of men 😉

If you are a woman and you want to get involved in a Java conference, for example, it might not be easy to take the microphone and be on stage in front of a men assembly who could see you as “a woman who speaks about Programing” and not only as “a programmer”! So in the Duchess network, we help each other in activities such as writing Technical articles or preparation of Technical Talks.

  • How did you get involved in Duchess and what do you do there?

2 years ago, a friend (@cedric_exbrayat the Lyon JUG Leader) told me about the initiative. At first, without really knowing this network, I was not necessarily thrilled with the slightly communitarian side of the “girls that make Java”. But after reading the blog (I’ve read a lot of interesting technical articles), I also discovered some pathways of girls that I find interesting and unusual (girls who have chosen to be freelance, even with little experience for some of them!)

Then I saw a real motivation for this type of network … First of all, a real interest on the technical contents, but also an interest from the standpoint of women’s visibility in the software development world.
I thought it might be nice to launch a group in Lyon and I joined the Duchess France team Leaders in September 2010. And then, I started to be active on the Duchess Blog. For the last two years, I have been interviewing a lot of JUG speakers (one interview per month) for Duchess Blog about different topics like Java 7, Java & Performances, GlassFish & Application Versioning, Cloud Computing, Amazon Web Services, Clojure, Gradle, Git, Groovy, Websocket, Maven 3, AMQP, HornetQ, JMeter, Business Process Management, Behavior Driven Development, BackBone, Spring Batch , Hibernate OGM, …

And the story is not over … Last year, in 2011, after 10 years working in France, I’ve decided to take a sabbatical. I started a world trip (Africa, Asia, Oceania, USA…) not only to discover beautiful landscapes, but also to meet Java communities all over the world. During this trip, I helped some girls to launch two new Duchess groups in countries I’ve been spending time : Duchess Africa and Duchess Indonesia. For me it was a wonderful experience. I met some girls with awesome motivation and enthusiasm!

  • In your opinion, why are there are so few women in free/open software?

I think there are so few women in the whole software field (free/open or proprietary software), specially on the technical side.

The first explanation may be linked to the women choices about education. Some prejudices are rooted in family and society and they influence the girl’s school choices. Parents and teachers
often discourage them from too technical ways where women’s presence is not yet fully accepted.

And some technical trades, such as computing, suffers from certain stereotypes. The developer is often depicted as a man, young, white, heterosexual, heroic-fantasy fan or video games addict. These worlds are also often filled with references mainly male where female have no place. When women are represented, they are often so degraded or humiliated. I remember a recent advertisement for the release of a version of Ubuntu (a Linux distribution): a pair of female buttocks perfectly calibrated with an Ubuntu underpants. But you can tell me that we find such representations whatever the product is (car, household product, custard, etc..)!

  • What are your ideas to increase the number of women?

I think that we have to increase the visibility of women in the community, in the aim to encourage the young ones to choose a developer job. I believe that women who work in computing have to write articles in the press, or to be speakers in conferences, still to be more visible! This a mission of the Duchess network : to help and push women to be more confident and then to dare to be on stage!

I teach computer science at University or Engineer Schools. Classes are for several years almost exclusively male. I want to show to the young students and high school students that the software development is not an occupation restricted to men.

Insight about Mozilla & WoMoz: Meet Melek, from Mozilla Tunisia

Delphine

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Here is an interview of Melek Jebnoun, active member of Mozilla Tunisia and a wonderful woman I had the honor to meet in Tunis back in February 🙂

Melek and Mitchell at Mozilla Arabic First Meetup 2011 – photo by Nozom
  • How did you come to know about free/libre software?

Concretely it’s been a year. I have often hear about open source and free software because I studied science. Last year I decided to join a university club in my institute (INSAT) called LibertySoft and my passion for free software really took off. However I would say that I really fell in love at first sight one Saturday during an IT conference where the open source community participated. On that day the Tunisian communities gathered during an entire afternoon for a big install party and a fun meetup session. This is when I told myself: dear, the cause is noble, go ahead 🙂 Since then I got more involved in the community and I tried to participate to all the events that were organized. I can’t stop, it’s some kind of drug 😀

  • How did you come to Mozilla? What are you working on within Mozilla?

For Mozilla it was pretty much the same, I met Rafik – founder of Mozilla Tunisia – during that famous Saturday I just talked about. It was three days before he announced the launch of Mozilla Tunisia. He looked at me and told me: “Do you want to join us?” I said: “I don’t know anything!” and he replied: “Come you won’t regret it”. I was just starting to get involved in Mozilla Tunisia, I helped for the website and the event in which Mozilla participated. After that Rafik put me in touch with Rame Khader of Mozilla Arabic. Since that day I got much more engaged inside the Arab community. I got a chance to participate in the Mozilla Arabic meeting in Jordania and I must say that it was the final blow :D. It reinforced my ties with the Arab community members and that was when I opened up to Mozilla in general, and when I went out of the usual Arab and Tunisian community frame. I came back with my head full of dreams and an excessive need to be more usefull within Mozilla.
What I do Mozilla? Uhm, I recently became a “mentor” in the REMO program launched by Mozilla. I also try to be useful especial inside the Tunisian and Arab community by organizing events and training sessions to preach the spirit and technology of an Open Web!

  • What do you prefer about Mozilla?

I must say that the community is great – especially because of the famous “Mozilla spirit”. It’s really “WOW”!!! Despite being invovled in other communities, I have never met people that are more passionate and willing to change the world without asking for any profit or gain in return. They are not afraid to dream and see the world in a quite distinctive way. Its members are simply exceptional.

  • And if you could improve something, what would that be?

Sincerely I would say that it is still quite difficult to get involved in the technical side. It’s hard even for some enthusiasts, who do not know where to start out or what to work on. Mozilla should work on this issue, maybe by creating concrete and accessible “How to get involved” documents.

  • What would you want WoMoz to do in order to improve your life and experience in Mozilla?

Ahhhh WoMoz, my favorite project in Mozilla. When Mitchell Baker talked to me about it I was really excited, and wanted to join the community as soon as I came back to Tunisia. Sincerely, I have always admired women who have a successful carreer in IT. It is sometimes hard as a woman to make a breakthrough it this domain. As a woman, I hope the extraordinary WoMoz will help me grow stronger and will encourage me to give more of myself, and to involve more Tunisian women in this great experience. I am sometimes so surprised to see the positive feedback from WoMoz, whose members don’t hesitate to give some of their time to give me their advice about my projects, or to orient me. They have always been present.

  • Do you have any ideas for WoMoz projects that you would like to launch?

Well, one of my dreams would be to see emerge an all-women technical group. We are able to do it, and we have the energy and talent of young women. Of course my vision concerns the Arab side since IT girls are almost non-existent here, or too shy to make themselves known and to continue in this field. One day, I really hope to see WoMoz create training programs and introduction sessions for young student girls in developing countries, or in countries with difficult access to technology or Internet. The idea is still forming in my head, and I hope that with WoMoz we will be able to do something in this area.

  • Do you think a project such as WoMoz is important? Why?

Oh dear yes! A project such as WoMoz is even more than important because every woman can see herself in it and can identify to the other members. “They did it, so I can too!” It’s really important – not only on a technical side or to counter sexist abuse (which is already very important) – but also for motivation and to encourage women to join projects. Some women are only waiting for a little boost to overcome their fears, and watching a Delphine or a Claire talk about women’s passion and their involvement in free/open software can change your vision of things. They are able to make you dream about this so-called “brutal” field: it’s a feminine touch that helps us become free and makes the world a better place for everyone 🙂
Thank you Melek for this interview!