Open Source Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Still Fall Short

During the past few years, “there have been concerted efforts — and ample funding — to increase all definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in open source,” writes Jennifer Riggins at The New Stack. But, she says, “they’ve failed to move the needle.”

“While women make up half the U.S. workforce and a still-shameful 20% of the tech industry, they make up less than 3% of open source communities,” Riggins writes.

In the article, Riggins cites the research of Vandana Singh, associate professor at the University of Tennessee, who stated in a recent Linux Foundation webinar that it’s time to disrupt this status quo. 

Riggins writes that Singh’s research “specifically cites a combination of anecdotal and empirical research that shows ‘hostile, discriminatory and predatory experiences of women and underrepresented minorities.’”

“The continued lack of all forms of diversity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: The lack of diversity enables more harassment, which leads to a continued lack of diversity. The tech industry remains toxic for the vast majority of women, Riggins notes.

“Some open source communities are working hard to recruit and retain a more diverse member base that feels a sense of belonging,” Singh notes. But the process must be iterative. “DEI is not a big bang approach, where we can just do a big thing and be done with it. That’s not how it works. We have to be consistent in our commitment and we have to continuously improve,” Singh says.

Read the complete article at The New Stack.

FOSSlife Newsetter