That time of year (a tradition has not yet been established) has come around again: the Ada Initiative is fundraising!
The what? The Ada Initiative is the charity that Valerie Aurora and I started in early 2011, supporting women in open technology and culture. Val and I have been working independently and together on supporting women in open source since circa 1999 (starting, in my case, when someone said something derogatory about my computing skills, in a university context*) and we were both at a transition point in our careers last year and decided to try and go pro. Everyone in open source is growing up and getting paid, the activists too!
Since then we’ve done a bunch of things:
- run two AdaCamps: cross-project summits for and about women in open tech and culture (to give an idea, at AdaCamp DC we had women who do GNOME programming, women who help run fandom organisations, and women from Wikipedia among many others)
- continued to work with conferences and communities to develop and promote the conference anti-harassment policies we developed in late 2010. Most recently a version was adopted by Google and linked from the Google IO 2012 homepage.
- developed our allies training workshop: we’re planning to develop a curriculum to train other people to run it
- worked with several companies and conferences to respond to sexist incidents or patterns in their community
I also appeared at Wikimania this year, to give a keynote on diversity ideals and strategies.
As for reasons to donate: let me share with you the argument that got me involved. They still motivate my work for the Ada Initiative. (I’ve been paid a salary for over a year now, but I donated my time through to July 2011.)
The basic reason is this: open technology and culture is changing the world. But all world-changing movements have problems with replicating the same old problems inside their communities: that the more boxes you check of Western, white, educated, male etc, the more you will find the community suited to putting you in leadership positions and the more you will benefit from it and change it to benefit you. Some areas of open technology and culture — famously, open source software development, but also, for example, Wikipedia editing — are notorious for low participation by women. For me the argument amounted to “I want to play too” but there are knock-on effects too: see Valerie’s Why We Need More Women In Open Source: The Founder Gap when it comes to employment.
At present this is do or die time: we have project experience and fundraising experience now. Our donation drive has 7 more days to run: if there’s not enough support out there for us to keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll need to re-think the idea that this is activism that it is possible to pay for.
I’d very much appreciate it if people who have benefited from open source, open knowledge, Creative Commons work and so on, especially people who have built a career from it or from having access to the community consider donating: it’s not a level playing field and it damn well should be!
* I don’t think it was the time that my tutor announced “oh hey, here’s our token woman” on the first day of semester, actually, but for the record: don’t do that.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia.
We invite you to join us in downtown San Francisco for an informal meetup! Ada Initiative co-founders Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora will be there, along with many of our board members and advisors. Mary is visiting San Francisco on her way back from keynoting the Wikimania conference, and wants to meet as many Bay area Ada Initiative supporters as she can.
Date: Monday July 16
Time: 7:30pm to 9:00pm
This is a self-hosted gathering at Jillian’s, a restaurant and bar in the Metreon.
101 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
We thank anyone who takes this opportunity to donate, but this gathering is open to everyone who supports women in open technology and culture in any manner.
Valerie and I are also having lunch on the Google Mountain View campus the following day (Tues Jul 17) in order to meet supporters there. It’s only open to Googlers and their invited guests though. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if that describes you, you want to come, and you haven’t yet heard about this.
If you know me personally, and you didn’t know that I am in DC all this week and San Francisco for half of next week, send me an email at the usual address and we might meet up.04.28.12
From the Ada Initiative blog:
© Bernt Rostad, CC Attribution
AdaCamp DC will be July 10 – 11, 2012, in Washington DC, co-located with Wikimania 2012. We are likely to have more applications than available slots, so apply now to have the best chance of attending. Applications close June 15 (May 11 for those requesting travel assistance).
Who should apply
AdaCamp DC will bring together a wide variety of people from open technology and culture, all of whom are working to support women in open tech/culture. We’re looking for people who:
- Participate in open technology and culture: any field involving open/grassroots/community participation and sharing the results of your work for free: open data, open source software, wikis, open government, open libraries, remix/fan culture, open video, and more
- Can share information about women’s experiences in that field, including talking about women’s achievements and the challenges they face
- Want to work together and share strategies to support and promote women in the field
- Share the Ada Initiative’s feminist approach to supporting and promoting women in open technology and culture
- Are young and old; students, professionals and hobbyists; from a diverse range of backgrounds; and reflect the breadth of the open technology and culture field
AdaCamp is open to people of all genders. However, since AdaCamp and the Ada Initiative exist to support and promote women in open technology and culture, prospective attendees who are not themselves women will need to demonstrate a high level of prior engagement and experience with the issues faced by women in those fields in order to be invited.
Interested in becoming an AdaCamp sponsor? Email us at email@example.com and we will send you more information on the benefits of sponsorship.12.15.11
When I was 15 I went on the web for the first time. A boy in my computing class went to Yahoo!, typed in “girls” and spent some time showing me porn.
I’ve programmed since I was a kid. I’ve loved the idea of open technology since I read a curious article in the 1990s about people all over the world, fixing complex bugs in an operating system that a university student had named after himself.
But every so often, I’m reminded how my Internet experience began. Women friends haven’t been safe on mailing lists, they haven’t been safe on Wikipedia’s talk pages, and they haven’t been safe at conferences. And even when they are safe, sometimes they’re lonely: estimates of women’s participation in open source run to about 2%, and as Wikipedia editors at 9%.
Thus, I’ve been a volunteer creating communities by and for women in open source since 2000. It’s been the equivalent of an unpaid part-time job for several of those years. But a year ago, Valerie Aurora became more ambitious, and proposed that since we were doing real work, we should do it as our real job. Together we created the Ada Initiative, a non-profit supporting women in open technology and culture. We rely on your support for our work:
Within a year we’ve organised our first AdaCamp, surveyed thousands of people about their perspective on women in open technology and culture, wrote and encouraged adoption of an anti-harassment policy by over 30 conferences and organizations in open tech/culture, and much more.
To continue our work in 2012, we need your help! Please donate to the Ada Initiative, and contribute to our planned work, including future AdaCamps, methodologically rigorous research into women in open source, and training for women contributors to open tech/culture projects and their allies.12.7.11
The Ada Initiative supports women in open technology and culture, ranging from open source to free culture to grassroots community organising to makerspaces to remix and fandom culture to open government initiatives and more. This stuff is powerful: it’s already shaping society and is going to continue to do so more and more. The Ada Initiative is focussed on supporting women in becoming an integral part of these communities.
AdaCamp will be a one day “unconference” (that is, it will have free-form sessions scheduled by participants) focussed on furthering women’s work in open technology and culture. It will be held on Saturday January 14 in Melbourne, some travel funding is available.
AdaCamp places are by invitation, if you’re interested in coming along please apply today. Applications close December 14. Hoping to meet some readers and ‘net friends there!11.11.11
I’m all but all booked in for linux.conf.au in Ballarat! (Need some accommodation in Melbourne for AdaCamp and to book the train to Ballarat.) So, time to share my early picks of the program:
Saturday (in Melbourne):
- EFI and Linux: the future is here, and it’s awful by Matthew Garrett
- IPv6 Dynamic Reverse Mapping – the magic, misery and mayhem by Robert Mibus
- Developing accessible web applications – how hard can it be? by Silvia Pfeiffer and Alice Boxhall
- Helping your audience learn by Jacinta Richardson
- Mentoring: We’re Doing It Wrong by Leslie Hawthorn
- Patch piloting for safer landings by Martin Pool
- The Samba tour of scripting languages by Andrew Bartlett
- Women in open technology and culture worldwide by Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora
- The copyright safe harbour is no longer safe by Ben Powell (will have to catch on video or maybe Best Ofs, since it clashes with mine)
- Saving Australian music from obscurity, the open source way by Alex Bayley
- Challenges for the Linux plumbing community by Jon Corbet
- Bloat: How and Why UNIX Grew Up (and Out) by Rusty Russell, Matt Evans and Alisdair Rawsthorne
- The Fallacy of the Zero-Sum Game by Allison Randal (clashes with Rusty et al)
- Rescuing Joe by Andrew Tridgell
It’s skewed a little by my interests for the Ada Initiative now, that’s where all the mentoring stuff comes from. And I doubt I will get to all of this although presumably Valerie and I won’t be whisking people off to private meetings about the Ada Initiative as much. (At LCA 2011, when we were yet to launch it, we did almost nothing else.) It looks like Tuesday is a day to catch my breath before Wednesday. My family have decided to travel home Friday, so sadly Friday won’t be.09.7.11
Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
The story of the subprime mortgage crisis, from the point of view of various traders who were betting it was all a crock for a long time. I originally learned about this book on The Daily Show. Mmm, March 2010. A good time for our local Bing Lee: we went and bought a washing machine with a decent spin cycle and I suddenly put my foot down and said that if I was going to be spending 2 hours each night putting our then young baby to sleep we were going to have a TV recorder to tape The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
If anyone is interested in the genesis of the Ada Initiative, it’s actually that washing machine, because I wrote a blog entry about it that inspired Valerie to get in touch with me after some years of radio silence. (We weren’t mad at each other, we just usually only talk when we have a project cooking. Or when we have washing machine thoughts, it seems.)
Ahem, Lewis’s book. A fun tale of investment outsiders who were shorting subprime mortage bonds by buying credit default swaps against them. They ranged from cynical to apocalyptic. They were mostly social misfits or investing misfits or both. (Aren’t we all misfits?) It’s a well-told tale, but it’s not a true insider’s tale. What was happening at Goldman Sachs, again?
Caution for: it’s from a trader point of view, so while at least one person profiled believed he was watching evil happen, we aren’t talking radical critiques of capitalism or anything here.
Bonus: As I said earlier, I wish I could read expert reviews/rebuttals for almost every non-fiction book I read. And this time I could. Check out Yves Smith, Debunking Michael Lewis’ The Big Short.
Randall Lane, The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade Wall Street Went Insane
Another insider-but-outsider tale of the bond market of the Naughties (the Zeroes, as Lane calls them). Lane was the co-founder of Trader Monthly, a glossy freebie magazine for Wall Street traders. This brought him into contact both with traders themselves, jockeying or not to be profiled as hot up-and-comers, and luxury goods advertisers keen to get in on bonus season.
It’s about equal parts how-my-magazine-startup-failed, which is interesting enough—a combination of it-could-happen-to-anyone road bumps, and getting into business with some real jerks—and what-were-they-like-these-traders. Entertaining enough as a library loan (which is how I read it), but I probably wouldn’t have actually purchased it. Still a bit of an outsider’s tale.06.2.11
At the Ada Initiative, we have a vision: A world in which women are equal and welcome participants in open technology, open data, and open culture. We want women writing free software, women editing Wikipedia, women creating the Internet and women shaping the future of global society. Here’s what we are doing to make that happen.
We need your help to make that vision a reality. Join the Seed 100 funding round for the Ada Initiative today! Seed money raised through this drive will go to pay for vital but unglamorous work necessary to raise larger long-term funding. Seed money from funders like you is crucial to the success of the Ada Initiative.
The Seed 100 funding round is a high-prestige, limited availability funding round. As such, it is limited to 100 donors total, of $512 [USD] or more, between June 1st and June 30th, 2011. This is a unique opportunity to show your personal support for women in open technology and culture, at a time when a personal donation will have the most effect.
Frankly the Sydney Padua print that is a reward for the first 25 donors of $1024 [USD] and over makes me want to donate, which would be counter-productive financially. But… love it. Thanks Sydney.
We’ve been poking away at this for ages, considering various options to get startup funding for the heavy-hitting project proposals we need for larger corporate donors and program partners (basically, business plans). Small donations, big donations, lots of donations, few donations. I think what we’ve come up with is a lot of fun. As of the time of writing we already have six donors at the Analytical Engineer level (so, 19 Sydney prints to go) and three at the Difference Engineer level, about nine hours after opening. Sweet!06.2.11
Hello long neglected blog. I am actually not going to say I feel bad about not writing, because here’s what I’ve been doing with my time:
- working on my PhD
- working on getting the Ada Initiative underway
- working on a PHP programming contract
- working on the Linux Australia Council
- household stuff, like snuggling my boy!
I’ll be back more once a few of those things disappear from my life.02.9.11
Per our announcement:
The Ada Initiative is focused on helping women get careers in open technology through recruitment and training programs for women, education for community members who want to help women, and working with corporations and projects to improve their outreach to women.