GNOME encourages women developers

174950227 e39bd50212After no women applied for their Summer of Code project, the GNOME Foundation has decided to sponsor a special program to attract more budding female developers by offering a $3000 intern deal.  Three winners will be assigned a mentor to hack on their GNOME project of choice from home for two months.

"Women prefer KDE" jokes aside, I think this is a valiant attempt to balance the open source community's gender inequalities.  However, I'm offended at the application requirements that "don't require you to be a Computer Science student, or even to have a good GPA".   Although the point they're likely trying to get across is that a lack of experience doesn't mean a lack of ability, it still sounds like the team is expecting mediocre candidates just to fill a quota. 

GNOME defends their controversial program based on the results of a recent report stating that women still have a disadvantage due to "being introduced to computers at a later age, being less encouraged to specialise in computing, having few female role models, having less free time to spend programming than men do, and being on the receiving end of sexism when they do try to get involved."  The WSOP program is GNOME's first step in helping reverse this trend, hoping the rest of the open source community follows suit.

I genuinely hope that I'm being overly critical and some kick-ass women get exposure from this project. I'll do what I can to keep track of who gets accepted and post a follow up after the termination of the project.  So ladies, you have until July 1st to apply.  Do us all proud.

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