Raising Women Programmers

Rikki Kite

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Jun 25, 2009 GMT
Rikki Kite

I ran across a post on SnowWrites today called "Will women programmers be extinct?" Blog author Donna Snow writes about the shortage of women working as programmers and says, "As a mom of five daughters (and one son) I have just realized I’m contributing to this lack of interest in technology. Even though I’ve spent the last ten(10) years working with Open Source projects and talking about it, none of my girls are interested in the field at all."

Donna also shares the story of how she got involved with open source and wonders how we can get more girls, such as her daughters, interested in programming. She writes, "It’s a very lonely existence being one of only a dozen or so women in a project with 100’s of highly involved, highly intelligent men. We need more women involved, for my sanity and the sanity of the other women in the project."

I don't have the answers. My daughter has many opportunities to get involved with technology. In fact, I've worked for tech publishing companies since she was just a wee baby, so it's not like she hasn't been exposed to the world of Unix, Linux, and open source. (And she even excels in math and science – although she's past the stage of wanting to be a "mad scientist" when she grows up – so it seems like it could be an easy transition if I could just find the right tipping point.)

Check out Donna's blog and feel free to share your ideas for helping increase participation by girls in programming (or anything else in the world of open source).

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