We want to share with you a concept note of what @kristiprogri and me are thinking to work on.
Nowadays, the technology plays a crucial role in the development of our society on an international and local level. It is a common belief that innovative technologies have developed faster than anyone could have predicted only 15 or 20 years ago. Having a smart device is not a luxury anymore, but one of our basic tools for communication, entertainment and productivity. Technology has simplified life in several ways including providing easy access to information, advanced communication, convenience of housing and shopping, improved entertainment and improved efficiency.
Issue nr 1: proprietary technologies contribute to the social gap in tech
Currently, many people use proprietary software that denies users these freedoms and benefits. If we make a copy and give it to a friend, if we try to figure out how the program works, if we put a copy on more than one of our own computers in our own home, we could be caught and fined or put in jail. That’s what’s in the fine print of the license agreement you accept when using proprietary software. The corporations behind proprietary software will often spy on your activities and restrict you from sharing with others. And because our computers control much of our personal information and daily activities, proprietary software represents an unacceptable danger to a free society. On the other hand we have open source software that is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. This way gives the user the freedom to share, study and modify the software, we call this free software because the user is free.
Issue nr 2: not only women in tech, but more social groups
Even though access to tech tools should be equal and beneficial to every human being, unfortunately a big gap exist for many social groups. Even if we have such a growth in the tech world, still one of the main groups that are underrepresented in the tech industry are women. The lack of women in the industry has brought the need of having more efforts to have more women being part of the respective tech communities. At the moment women make up an estimated 2% of the open source community, far lower than the percentage of women in computing overall, estimated at around 20%. A more recent 2013 survey found that 11% of free libre open source (FLOSS) contributors are women, but only 1.5% of free and open source software (FLOSS) developers are women. The issues become bigger if we realize that underrepresented groups in tech include not only women, but also to other marginalize social groups.
There are a lot of initiatives whose main goal has been mostly to promote women rather then all the people from underrepresented groups like: Women in Red, Code in Rose, PyLadies, Django Girls, LibreLadies or their inner politic was only to operate locally and not to have an international impact.
Our proposal/solution: Open Diversity Dot Tech
The main idea is to create a hub, where all this initiatives can come up together and start communicating and exchanging experiences. Open Diversity is considered the umbrella project where everyone, despite anything can easily join, share knowledge with other similar initiatives and get informed.
Why only open source tech?
Our focus is only open source communities because big companies or corporates have their own policies/standards related to employment and is difficult to change their way of thinking without a coordinated push for policy change on a local or central (EU?) level. On the other hand open source communities are more decentralized, have their own code of conduct and are more focused in a horizontal process of decision making and thus more easy to adopt more inclusive policies.
Open Diversity project will consist on the following infrastructure:
- Mailing list: will be the official channel to communicate with each other
- Wiki: which will be as a main channel to know all the communities who will be included and the place where we will documented everything.
- Curated Content: podcast, interviews and blog-posts from people coming from this target group who will share their personal perspectives and their stories.
- Offline events: Organizing an annual event where all members from this communities will be happy to join and also become speakers. Also other small meet-ups to share experience and exchange ideas.
We would appreciate a lot your feedback and let us know if you have any questions.