A personal appeal for support from Jacinta Richardson

Im writing to ask you to donate to the Ada Initiative.

Sometimes being a woman in IT is discouraging, and being involved in open source can be worse. Very few conferences go by without at least one person reporting sexual assault, or a speaker being inappropriate, or having/someone organising a social event that clearly assumes that the conference attendees are all men, usually heterosexual.

While I have never been sexually assaulted at a conference, I am often made aware of my differences, by being asked whether I’m part of the partners’ program (awkward when I’m wearing a speaker’s badge, right?), or by hearing speakers refer to the audience as “you guys” and “us, men”. I am made aware that I’m not the same when I’m called “frigid” or a “bitch” for walking away from conversations that took turns that didn’t interest me. I feel I don’t belong when men ask me at user groups if I’m there because of my husband or boyfriend.

I have had numerous female friends leave open source first, and then often IT as a whole due to the prevalent, accepted and expected undercurrents of sexism. This is not going to get better unless we do something about it.

The Ada Initiative is the only non-profit dedicated solely to increasing the participation of women in open source, Wikipedia, fan culture, and other areas of open technology and culture. Currently, women make up only 2% of the open source community, and 9% of Wikipedia editors, down from 13% a year ago. We want to change these trends. You can help by donating or by spreading the word about our donation drive now:


To see what has been done already, and what is planned for 2012 check out:


The Ada Initiate needs your help to achieve our upcoming goals. The Ada Initiative is funded entirely by donations. Without your financial support, the Ada Initiative will have to shut down in early 2012.


You dont have to stand on the sidelines any longer. You can help women in open technology and culture, starting today.