Free/Libre/Open Source Software: Policy Support. Gender integrated report of findings.


TítolFree/Libre/Open Source Software: Policy Support. Gender integrated report of findings.
Tipus de publicacióText
FormatWorking Paper
AutoriaKrieger, Bernhard, and Leach James
Any de publicació2006
EditorialEuropean Union Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), IST support action
Tipus de llicènciacopyleft

We proposed to study the role of gender in free/libre/open source software (F/LOSS) communities because an earlier EC study (Ghosh et al 2002, 2005) revealed a significant discrepancy in the proportion of men to women. It showed that just about 1.5% of F/LOSS community members were female at that time, compared with 28% in proprietary software (NSF 2004). We set out to find reasons behind this bias and make recommendations for actions that might improve the ratio of women to men. As F/LOSS constitutes an increasingly significant arena of technological advancement and economic development, it has become an important public policy question. Through an ethnographic study consisting of empirical surveys, participant observation and qualitative interviews, we aimed to provide the worlds first comprehensive study of gender in F/LOSS and develop policies to maintain the EU´s leading role in this field. On the surface, it appears that few people within the community feel this gender disproportion is desirable: our survey showed that 66% of men and 85% of women agreed that more female participants would be better for the whole F/LOSS community. This led us to pay particular attention to the social dynamics within F/LOSS that keep it so thoroughly male dominated, at the same time as the majority of participants express a preference for a more balanced community.

Paraules clausfree software; gender