Diversity: Why open source needs to work on it in 2020

Diversity: Why open source needs to work on it in 2020

Sometimes the answer to a problem is hiding in plain sight. Take, for example, the problem of diversity in tech and, specifically, in open source software.

If we look at US Bureau of Labor data, 21.2% of professional developers are female. According to a 2017 GitHub open source survey, however, 95% of respondents were male and just 3% were female (1% identified as non-binary). It turns out that 68% of the female respondents are “very interested” in contributing to open source, but are significantly less likely to do so than men (45% vs. 61%).

The reason? Well, men, to put it bluntly (or unwelcoming behavior, to add some color). For those who don’t think diversity matters, this post won’t convince you. But for those who would like to see open source development become more representative of the people who will use it, a 2019 DigitalOcean developer survey offers clues for improvement.

Was blind but now I see

According to that survey, women are far more likely to say they’d be more likely to contribute to open source “if the open source community was more inclusive.” That inclusivity is often measured by how welcoming open source is.

Figure A

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Image: DigitalOcean

Notice anything interesting in the data above? Men are more likely to participate in open source, less likely to feel diversity is important (while simultaneously being more likely to think everything is A-OK), and also less likely to believe they need much to get going.

SEE: Transgender employees in tech: Why this “progressive” industry has more work to do to achieve true gender inclusivity (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

This same thing is revealed in the GitHub survey, where men and women diverge on key areas like codes of conduct and welcoming communities (Figure B).

Figure B

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To find out more go to: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/diversity-why-open-source-needs-to-work-on-it-in-2020/