Women’s Summer Outreach Program

While reviewing GNOME’s Summer of Code applications I noticed that none of the 181 applications we’d received appeared to be from women. This upset me, and I teamed up with my ex-officemate Hanna Wallach to write a proposal to the GNOME Foundation’s board, suggesting that we use the money given to the foundation by Google (for taking part in SoC) to fund a few project slots specifically for women.

To our delighted surprise, the board said yes, and today GNOME’s launching the Women’s Summer Outreach Program, which will run from July 1st – September 1st and offer two-month long projects to three female students. For this to be a success, we need as much help from the community as we can get. Namely:

  • Spread the word! If you know any female students with programming experience, please consider sending them an e-mail with a link to the project. Even if they decide not to take part, they might at least be interested to see what we’re doing.

  • We’ve created a list of potential projects on the wiki, based on the MentoredProjects list started by murrayc, and it’d be a great help if any GNOME developers could consider adding something to the list. Please give the entries enough context to have them understandable by someone who isn’t necessarily experienced with the GNOME stack.

  • If you’re involved with a CS department we have a poster for your noticeboard. If your department has an e-mail list for student job opportunities that we could use, please let us know.

We have a tight timeframe to get started — 2.5 weeks until the submissions deadline — due to starting out late, but I’m confident we can make a real difference to the community with this project. If you’re interested in helping out, please stop by #wsop on irc.gnome.org.

Update: The project’s been linked to from gnome.org, along with Mairin Duffy’s awesome artwork.


  1. I guess getting more people involved hacking free software is always good, but where does it end? What if we happened to notice that none of the applicants was (for example) black, or Catholic, or homosexual, or Chinese, or physically disabled?

  2. I respect your choice but I think that this is useless. First, we need equality between the both sexes. Second, this is a cultural issue in *some* societies that need to be fixed by the culture, from the mentalities.

  3. I must be missing something. Why is it we “need” equality of the sexes? Don’t we “need” equality of the races, religions, sexualities, nationalities, and physical abilities, as well?

  4. As a female student I think it is great. Different sexes have different lifes and differnt thoughts and ideas. The color of the skin, religion, or country of origin don’t affect the view and mind of a person but sex does.


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