A personal appeal from Mary Gardiner: the Ada Initiative needs your help

When I was 15 I went on the web for the first time. A boy in my computing class went to Yahoo!, typed in girls” and spent some time showing me porn.

Photograph of Mary Gardiner

Ive programmed since I was a kid. Ive loved the idea of open technology since I read a curious article in the 1990s about people all over the world, fixing complex bugs in an operating system that a university student had named after himself.

But every so often, Im reminded how my Internet experience began. Women friends havent been safe on mailing lists, they havent been safe on Wikipedias talk pages, and they havent been safe at conferences. And even when they are safe, sometimes theyre lonely: estimates of womens participation in open source run to about 2%, and as Wikipedia editors at 9%.

Thus, Ive been a volunteer creating communities by and for women in open source since 2000. Its been the equivalent of an unpaid part-time job for several of those years. But a year ago, Valerie Aurora became more ambitious, and proposed that since we were doing real work, we should do it as our real job. Together we created the Ada Initiative, a non-profit supporting women in open technology and culture. We rely on your support for our work:

Donate now!

Within a year weve organised our first AdaCamp, surveyed thousands of people about their perspective on women in open technology and culture, wrote and encouraged adoption of an anti-harassment policy by over 30 conferences and organizations in open tech/culture, and much more.

To continue our work in 2012, we need your help! Please donate to the Ada Initiative, and contribute to our planned work, including future AdaCamps, methodologically rigorous research into women in open source, and training for women contributors to open tech/culture projects and their allies.

Donate now: we cant do it without you!