The Indian Express published an article on women who are passionate about technology, gaming among other such things. Focus on this topic is rare in India and I was happily surprised when Shobha contacted me and asked for my views to be included in the article. Here’s the link to the epaper. Enjoy!
Finally, things are taking shape. We got a very few but dedicated people interested to promote FOSS among women in India. After the first two meetings we decided to have this online event where
- we will have an online digital art competition
- a Mediawiki hackathon
- an event on localization.
Everything is in planning stage right now. But we want to make FOSS attractive for girls/women in India to first use it and then contribute to it. When they hear about this event or attend it, they should feel – yeah, it’s cool – I want to do this.
Have to plan some cool promotional materials for it.
There’s one big obstacle though. People, especially women in India think of FOSS as something “geeky” – not to be touched by everyone. That it is not easy to use.
If we do not address these myths, they will continue using third grade proprietary software without even trying any other alternative!
Please share your ideas/suggestions on how to make this event interesting and appealing to women in India.
In case you want to help, please join http://wfs-india.dreamwidth.org/ an participate in the irc meetings.
The minutes of the first meeting to promote FOSS among women in India held on Monday 29 April 2013 at channel #wfs-india at irc.freenode.net is as follows –
We created a community at http://wfs-india.dreamwidth.org/. Please join if you are interested.
Regarding creating a new group for the cause, we noted that although there exist quite a few eg linuxchix, ubuntu women etc, some of the participants pointed out that – “one single non domain specific group sounds a better idea”, “would it not benefit if there is a group which is not confined to any specific agenda, such as linux or ubuntu”
We decided to hold promotional events in schools/colleges and for working women. We need to collaborate with other groups to organize such events.
We can have install fests, show videos, interview clips, share information about the culture in FOSS, the philosophy behind it and of course how it can help someone if she contributes to it.
A lot of interesting ideas came up –
– hosting hacker schools, organize hackathons, conferences
– having weekly gatherings and hacker spaces
– creating e-books, articles, art-works, graphic novels to attract more people and especially women into FOSS.
Such online efforts would help those women who can not come to events.
– creating a magazine covering successful women contributors in India – since there’s lack of role models in India.
The next agenda may include –
– how to organise events?
– how to get money?
– how to get volunteers?
– content of the event
We will be having our next meeting pretty soon. Please keep an eye on the link shared above.
Who should join?
If you are enthusiastic about FOSS and sometimes/always wondering why there are so few women in India contributing/working in FOSS, please do join. People in the meeting would love to hear your ideas and suggestions to include more women in FOSS
If you are a woman and think that women in software should come together to address the common issues faced by them, please do join.
What is the agenda?
None decided. This is our first meeting and we will share our views and see what can be done. Roughly the discussion might be around –
- why and if at all do we need a group to promote FOSS among women in India,
- how we can improve networking among women in software in India,
- how we can unite to address common issues faced by women in technology in India,
- how we can help each other to build skills, expertise and grow professionally and personally
- if we can organize an event (something on the line of adacamp – (I really love the idea)) in India.
- anything that you wish to bring up to help the cause.
When and where is the meeting taking place?
When – Monday 29 April 2013 at 9pm IST (UTC+05:30)
Where – #wfs-india at irc.freenode.net
A list of similar groups/events happening worldwide
The Ada Initiative
Girls in Tech London
and many more …