A personal appeal from Noirin Shirley: Keep Ada Initiative open!

Noirin Shirley

Cross-posted from Nerd Chic

The Ada Initiative is raising money for their 2012 activities. Theyre primarily funded by donations, and cant do it without us! To support their full-time work on supporting women in open technology and culture, donate now! And if you cant donate, please do what you can to help spread the word :-)

I love being part of an open culture. Adore it, believe in it, treasure it. But how can I work in an industry where long-standing members of our communities think I should expect to be assaulted at professional conferences?

Regularly, I ask myself what about teaching? Or hey, maybe go into publishing?”. Or hell, just go back to Microsoft, get out of Open Source. Proprietary IT is still sexist, but my Microsoft colleagues always stayed within the bounds of decency.

Ive been incredibly fortunate in life. I come from a wonderful family who afforded me every opportunity. Ive worked hard, pushed forward, tried for the impossible, and had some amazing strokes of dumb luck :-) But I havent, and I cant, do it on my own.

For the last year, The Ada Initiative have had my back, and the backs of women in a cross-section of open, technical cultures. Theyre the reason I havent quit the industry entirely, even as Ive stepped down from my more visible roles. Theyre the reason I continue to contribute in quieter ways, to smaller projects.

Donate now!

They are, as I said before, dedicated to a simple vision: a world in which women are equal and welcome participants in open technology, open data, and open culture. Their strategy for change is equally simple: give concrete, straight-forward advice to willing and eager audiences. They focus their effort on programs that are scalable, reusable, and effective, and they are committed to providing their work completely free of charge.

But this is a full-time job for two highly-qualified tech professionals. This isnt a job that can be done on volunteer time. And although theyve had seed funding from companies and major individual contributors, they need ongoing support in order to keep up the good work. Its up to us to make sure they can stay open.

And thats where you come in. The Ada Initiative has launched a campaign for donations to keep them running past the start of next year! If you want to support their vision, if you think women should be able to attend conferences without fear of being assaulted, if you want to help make sure that the next generation of women are welcomed into computing, you can donate at http://supportada.org/donate. And either way, dont forget to spread the word!

Donate now!