A personal appeal from Selena Deckelmann: Support the Ada Initiative

Cross-posted from Tending the Garden

I support the Ada Initiative because biology doesnt explain: why there arent more women in computer science, why I dont have more women colleagues who hack on databases, or why we dont have more women contributing to open source projects.

You can support the Ada Initiative, too.

I wrote a few years ago about how I thought we might best get more women involved. Four years later, my tl;dr version is: make friends with women. Imagine if every male developer could name 10 women that they considered friends among their colleagues. People they trusted, hacked with and built new companies with.

But grassroots efforts alone cant solve the lack of womens involvement.

My story of involvement with open source and computing starts with friends who shared the fun with me in college. They invited me to Marathon parties, late night hacking sessions with new processors, pranking coworkers whose system images werent quite as secure as theyd advertised…

I love free and open source culture, IT security culture and all the people that Ive met over the past 13 years. My life is so incredibly enriched and joyful as a result of the people who share what they learn with me.

Despite my love, theres trouble in paradise. We could be better. And one thing I wish for is more women in my open source communities.

Over the years, Ive been part of efforts to increase the number of women involved in the projects Ive founded – Open Source Bridge (more than 50% managed by women, >30% speakers women), Legion of Tech (1/3 of the original board members were women), and Code-N-Splode (all womens programming and speaker development group).

Now, Im an advisor to the Ada Initiative. Ive watched over the last year as Mary and Val have worked to focus their mission and identify exactly what they think will encourage women. They have to balance their experiences and the resistance to cultural change endemic to businesses, organizations and the loose organizations around open source.

Its fucking hard work. And theyre doing a great job.

Ada Initiative is the organization I wish would have existed 13 years ago. Its the voice of experience and a catalyst for change that we need inside our communities. Its a place for women to go for advice and help when things go right — or when things go wrong.

So, what can you do?

The Ada Initiative needs money. They need corporate support. They need individual contributions.

If you, or your company, can contribute and keep the Ada Initiative going for another year, contribute today. Mary and Val have done the hard work of getting started. Now they need your help to keep going.

Donate now!