Karen Sandler: "I was astounded by how many articulate amazing interesting women there were"

Yesterday, we posted an excerpt of an interview with Ada Initiative advisor Karen Sandler in March, focused on the GNOME Outreach Program for women, and the ways that women support each other and advocate for the GNOME community.

Today, a further excerpt in which Karen talks about her involvement in the Ada Initiative and her experiences at AdaCamp Melbourne in January, beginning at 15 minutes 41 seconds in the video:


Karen Sandler: So, I’ll skip to the Ada Initiative, which is ­— so I’ve just become an advisor to that because I went to a conference in Melbourne when I was there for Linux Conf Australia [linux.conf.au]. They had this — it’s called AdaCamp and I was astounded by how many articulate amazing interesting women there were who had so much more information about women in technology than I ever had.

I’ve been interviewed as a woman in Free Software in the past and [laughs] — following the old axiom that in order to be an expert about women in Free Software you just had to be one.

Jeremy Allison, interviewer: [laughs with Karen]

Karen: Yeah. So they — but these women had statistics and they had real knowledge and they had amazing recommendations of things that… Free Software projects and software companies can do to make sure that they’re actually encouraging women to participate.

And so that’s why I decided to affiliate with them, and to support them. Their work is incredible. They’ve helped create codes of conduct for conferences, they’ve helped deal with problems as they arise, they’ve helped draw attention to the issue in the field, so it’s great, the Ada Initiative.

Jeremy: That’s really good, so that’s the search term if people want to find out more about it. Because we could do with more women in engineering, and in the Free Software communities.

Thanks Karen, your help has been really valuable!

The transcribed part of Karen’s video has been subtitled using Amara. Help subtitle the rest of the video!

More about the Ada Initiative’s work

Karen introduced you to two of the Ada Initiative’s projects: AdaCamps and conference anti-harassment policies.

AdaCamp is a series of small unconferences bringing together people interested in women in open technology and culture from across many different communities. We hope it will spark new ideas, spread best practices, and be a catalyst for change. We have held two AdaCamps in 2012, in Melbourne and in Washington DC.

Inspired by multiple reports of groping, sexual assault, and pornography at open tech/culture conferences, the Ada Initiative co-founders helped write and promote an example conference anti-harassment policy for modification and reuse by conference organizers. See the Ada Initiative’s Conference policies page for more about our work supporting conferences in creating a safe environment for women and others.

The Ada Initiative relies on donations and sponsorship to fund our important work. Find out how to support us!

More from Karen

Karen’s keynote at linux.conf.au in January focused on her advocacy for available and freely licenced source code to life saving medical devices — like her pacemaker!