Is this year’s UN motto for the International Women’s Day. And we find it quite fitting. It suits our own concerns, our own philosophies.
In Purism, we care about rights. Digital rights concern everybody, touch most people’s lives, and carry a heavy societal weight when it comes to women. In spite of that, the gender gap in Tech is abyssal – and women are almost nowhere to be seen.
So Happy Women’s Day.
To say women are under-represented in the IT sector is an understatement; the situation in Free Software development is not much better, although some steps have been taken to improve the gender gap. There is, for example, the Debian Woman project, with its own mentoring program; or Outreachy, inviting cis and trans women, trans men and genderqueer people to apply – and, if you have a sense of humor, there’s also WoMan.
But we all need more, and we need it sustained and sustainable. Women matter. History repeats itself in forgetting those without a voice – and we all lose, collectively. Women in technology were only somewhere between 2% and 5% of all programmers a decade ago; and are only about 10% now. At Purism, as of this writing, our nine-person independent board comprises 33% women – in addition to being racially and geographically diverse; our full team is over 20% women, and once again racially and geographically diverse. Groups that are little-represented urgently need to be able to create, and give feedback on, what is created by other groups. Women and girls must contribute to making real change in tech as well, help shape how it impacts their lives. And it does impact their lives immensely.
Consider, in no particular order and among many others, the work (and legend) of Hypatia of Alexandria; remember Grace Hopper, who found that bug; Ada Lovelace, who got you your first computer program (and the Analytical Engine); Muriel Cooper and the information architecture that led to digital interfaces; Hedy Lamarr, movie star and wireless encryption specialist; Katherine Johnson, for allowing (manned) space exploration; Carol Shaw and Super Breakout, because playing games matters; think about Margaret Rock and the Enigma Machine, Karen Sandler and the Software Freedom Conservancy.
And our very own Dorota Czaplejewicz, Heather Ellsworth, Nicole Færber, Teresa Hill, Petra Kirchner, Kim Kuan-Louie, yours truly, Andrea Schäfer, Jennifer Stoddart, Helen Vasilevski and Nikki Zinman.
Diversity is an asset, and creates safe workplace environments. If you want a safe workplace environment that respects diversity, we are hiring.