Ada Lovelace Day!



As you may know, on friday October 7, we celebrate the Ada Lovelace Day. Ada Lovelace is known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine; as such she is sometimes portrayed as the “World’s First Computer Programmer” (thanks Wikipedia !)…

Ada Lovelace

It’s a perfect day to remind everybody that women are able to do computer sciences, to code, to be technical, like men! So it’s a perfect day for WoMoz to claim we love FLOSS like men do.

Delphine and I talked about what we could do on that day. Here’s what we suggest: we booked Paris Office (thank you Tristan Nitot!) to welcome anyone who would like to come and talk about women in FLOSS. In fact, it would be a kind of brainstorming about a lot of things we could do, but some concrete and practical things (for instance: teaching computer sciences to the elderly people).

The aim is that every woman could organize a meeting in her country/city, with everyone on IRC (#womoz), or on Skype!

Finally, we would make a list of all our ideas, and then we will write a blogpost to get everybody’s point of view. And then, we’ll try to organize some tasks for next months.
Of course, the idea is also to gather our experiences, and to give a new impulsion to WoMoz, under the eyes of Ada Lovelace 😉 Oh, and we’ll also gather wine and cheese too 😀

What do you think about it? Are you ready for it?

The meeting could start at 10 AM PST (19h in France, in the Paris Office, 28 Bd Poissonnière, 75009 PARIS, please, tell me if you come!)…

I’m waiting for your opinions!



WoMoz in Dakar !



For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a French contributor based in Paris who writes the Bonjour Mozilla blog posts.

I’m in Dakar right now with some other Mozilla folks from the Paris office in order to participate in the birth of Mozilla Senegal! We are doing presentations in schools, leading workshops, and answering a lot of questions.

They’ve asked me to speak about women in Open Source, so I’ll do a WoMoz presentation this Saturday. I can’t wait! It’s very interesting because it seems that there are much more women here in the Open Source community than in Europe. On Saturday 23rd, we went to a Drupal Camp to meet the Open Source community in Dakar. The Dakar Lug told us that they have 17% women in their community! Indeed, there were more women than I have ever seen in such an event. It was great! Furthermore, there were quite a few women developers there. So I’ll try to discover why and how they managed to attract women.

What I can tell you for the moment is that, since we’ve arrived here, we are lucky to meet so many motivated people: they ask us a lot of questions, and they tell us how much they need Mozilla. They also told us that they had the feeling they had been forgotten for a long time, whereas they wanted to be a part of Mozilla. They want an open and “hackable” Internet. They want to participate in this adventure, and they described to us exactly what they need. Some of them also expect to create their society upon Mozilla technologies. They want to improve their future, and they think Mozilla is good for this.

Of course, I’ll give feedback after and write a blog post to let you all know how it went.

Please, if you have some questions, tell me! I’ll try to answer it soon.


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Why do I support the PyStar initiative



As you may have noticed, the previous blogpost ,written by Delphine, has triggered a lot of negative comments on IRC, Facebook, or throughout mails… That’s why, I’ve decided to write this blogpost to raise the debate on this blog, and to explain why I do support the PyStar initiative… even if I understand some of these reactions.

First of all, I’m aware that PyStar isn’t specifically a WoMoz initiative, but I don’t care. It is supported by a great WoMoz member : Lukas Blakk, who wants to share her knowledge, and I admire her for that. I’m just a contributor, I don’t know how to code, and I appreciate this initiative, because women, who encounter some discriminations during their studies, often can’t really choose if they want to code (“what my daughter? You want to do a boy’s work?!!!”). Lukas is telling, to all these women: “it’s not to late, we are ready to help you, to let you discover if you would like to code”. And it’s a way to reduce the gap between men and women about code. A gap which is very important, if you accept to be realistic.

But why create an event only (or nearly only) for women, since that’s what people are mostly complaining about. I can understand. In some way. BUT. Let’s try to understand how it is when, as a women, you discover the geeks universe. First of all, there are a lot of men. A lot. It’s nice when you are looking for a boyfriend, but not really when you want to be considered as a geek as well. Because there are sometimes some sexist jokes, because some men (a few, really a few but they exist) are convinced that women can’t code, and because women are often very shy the first time. But why? You know, during two years, I was a journalist in a sport’s broadcast. It was very hard for me. Because, each time I did a mistake (about a name, a technical word, etc.), I was devastated : I knew that men would conclude it was only because I was a woman. When you want to code, it’s the same thing: you don’t want to keep misconceptions going. You want to prove women can do the same thing than men. But you know that everybody is watching you out of the corner of their eyes. So PyStar wants to help women to do the first step.

But it would only be a first step: once they know what is Python, and how to code it, we don’t want to separate men and women until the end. PyStar only wants to help women to have confidence in themselves.

Anyway, I’m not sure it’s the better way to improve women visibility in FLOSS. But it’s a new way, and I think it must be tried. All must be tried to welcome women in FLOSS. But of course, we also need men to erase misconceptions. We also need men to teach code. We also need men to raise some debates. We also need men for everything. But overall, we need to be respected. And in order to be respected, we need to have confidence in ourselves. Confidence, it’s just what PyStar wants to bring us.

I hope you’ll understand me. Of course, I’m ready to debate. And I’d really like to have your opinion!

Next goes conclusion. It summarizes the whole paper and restating the thesis, proving your point of view one more time. The reference list is the last, but not the least. It should have appropriate style. Use manuals which can be found on the Internet to get to know standards of MLA, APA, Harvard and other styles to have a good essay that would impress your teacher.


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.



[Part 2]Womoz Update at MozCamp: What’s Been Done, What’s to Come



(Part 1 here)

Since the audio part for the talks given at MozCamp Berlin don’t seem to have come out yet, here’s a summary of what we have talked about at the WoMoz talk given with Clarista during the event (slides can be found here). It can basically be divided into 2 main parts: What’s Been Done, and What’s to Come.

What’s Been Done

So here’s a description of the projects that we’ve mainly been working on since Women & Mozilla started:

  • Interviews (blog and video) presenting women in Mozilla as well as women in Open Source. The main goal being to give more visibility to women in FLOSS
  • Creation of a Bonjour WoMoz (every Thursday) that basically presents Mozilla women and friends. We’ve also created a Planet WoMoz, that syndicates the blogs of Mozilla women
  • 3rd year in a row that we’re working with University of Évry students (Comete Course) on WoMoz and Mozilla related projects
  • Collaboration with other women in FLOSS groups, networking with women in computing groups
  • Open World Forum (2010 edition): Creation of a Gender Equality Group. We then led a brainstorming workshop within the forum in order to create a European Diversity Charter that could be approved by all IT and Open Source companies (still ongoing):
  • Trying to create role models for young girls to identify with
  • Giving talks in classes from primary school to university
  • Numerous and regular talks during events: FOSDEM, Ubuntu Parties, RMLL, JDLL, etc.
  • Launched the 1st PyStar Paris workshop (second to come soon!), thanks to Lukas Blakk’s great initiative. Women gathered in the Mozilla Paris office to learn the basics of Python
  • Organization of meet-ups, workshops, meetings to discuss WoMoz and future projects
  • Surveys to gather the impressions and feedback of women in the Mozilla community, as well as from the entire Mozilla community
  • and more…

What’s to Come

  • The points above are still ongoing, and to that we can add:
  • Working on more local / regional actions: every country and every community is different and we can be even more effective if we increase our regional impact through local projects and events
  • Further increasing our presence in schools (starting in primary), highschools and universities, where young children can be educated about open source and Mozilla. Goal: increasing awareness at an early age about open source technologies and philosophy, both amongst girls and boys. Acting as role models for girls, but also for everyone in general
  • Increasing our presence in wider-public events, such as music festivals or artistic events
  • Creating an on-board guide for new members. This will be in the wiki and will be a step-by-step explanation of how we got involved in our own contribution fields within Mozilla
  • Fact: we need to find more people to write in the blog!
  • Further information and details concerning some of these points can be found on Clarista’s blog post here
  • and more 🙂

A special thanks to the people who attended the talk and came up with GREAT ideas for future projects, which we’ll blog about soon. And remember, if you want to help us out, join us on the WoMoz mailing list or go to our website and join whatever communication tool works best for you!