The GNOME community would like to ensure a consistent, on-going effort to engage more women with the project and is therefore organizing a new Outreach Program for Women. The goal of the program is to encourage women’s participation throughout the year and create internship opportunities in the summer. This program is a part of a larger free software community effort to increase women’s participation.
The reason we need to have information and opportunities targeted specifically towards women is that this will get more of them involved. It will allow more of them to learn how exciting, varied and valuable work on GNOME can be and how inclusive the community really is.
We already have a good list of mentors for the program and would love to have more sign up, so please add your name to the list if you are interested. A couple women have already come across the information about the program and gotten in touch with the mentors. Their involvement with the projects and guidance from the mentors can start now, which means that the program is basically providing them with the information on how to get started contributing to GNOME and a friendly contact for the questions they will likely have. We are encouraging students and mentors to work together before the application period, so that the students are well familiar with the projects before they apply for the internships and the mentors have the contributions they can take into account during the selection process.
Having summer internships with GNOME will create an opportunity for women to dedicate more time to their work on free software and make a greater contribution to the project. We would like to have these opportunities available in addition to the Google Summer of Code because this will allow us to have a more focused program and will ensure that more women learn about and participate in it. Moreover, we would like the new program to include non-programming projects such as graphics design, interaction design, documentation, and marketing. We are also considering organizing the program so that participants can work as part of the team starting with smaller contributions and progressing to larger ones, rather than working on stand-alone projects. This is more similar to the way companies run their internship programs and will ensure that contributions get incorporated into GNOME throughout the summer.
The GNOME Foundation would like to be able to provide stipends to several students similar to the ones offered in the Google Summer of Code and we need to raise funds for this purpose. I’d like to ask you to consider contributing towards this program or to make a comment that you’d like your contribution to be used towards this program when contributing through Friends of GNOME. We are also seeking corporate sponsorship for the program, so please let us know if your company would like to participate.
GNOME Outreach Program for Women will allow more women to learn how exciting and approachable the free software is and to gain the necessary qualifications to work in the free software industry, contribute to and create free software projects. I am personally very excited about having this program in GNOME because the knowledge and experiences that I have gained by working in the free software community have greatly enriched my life and I believe it is important that more women have such similar opportunities.