Speaker Pia
Time 2008-01-29 09:20
Conference LCA2008

BDale and others got Pia involved in FOSS.

Early on

Women 66% of technical people.

Most people entering computing are Men.

Conflict normal, doesn’t imply sexism. Need to distinguish conflict based sexism and normal conflicts.

“You are too pretty to use mutt”

Stereotype: Women like “creative” jobs.

“Non-traditional” roles, term encourages perception that they are non-traditional roles.


  • Girls aren’t interested in computers. Reality: all teenagers interested in computers, regardless of sex. Using them all the time.
  • Women in IT are butch, women have no identity in IT. Reality, nothing about IT that goes against women.
  • Women like more creative jobs. 21% of jobs in ICT are technical positions held by women.
  • Women earn less then men in IT. True.
  • There are no women in IT. 25% women enrol in ICT degrees.
  • There are definitely no women in FOSS. Entire point of FOSS is that anyone can get involved.

Women hackers:

  • Suparna Bhattacharya
  • Val Henson
  • Noirin Plunkett
  • Kelly Yeoh - 2nd life
  • Sulamita Garcia
  • Brenda Wallace - Mobile stuff
  • Allison Randal
  • Penny Leach - Debian
  • Amaya Rodrigo Sastre - First female Debian maintainer.
  • Fernanda Weiden - Debian
  • Hannah Wallach - FLOSS research
  • Erinn Clarke - Debian
  • Akkana Peck
  • Alice Boxhall - One of two in Google team
  • Jacinta Richardson
  • Maureen O’Sullivan - Laywer
  • Telsa Gwynne
  • Fabianne Balvedi - Music applications
  • Sara Falamaki - Business applications


  • Joh Clarke
  • Pia Waugh

Visionaries and leaders

  • Stormy Peters
  • Army Jiang
  • Pia Waugh
  • Mitchell Baker
  • Mary Gardiner
  • Elizabeth Gerbee (edale)


  • Donna Benjamin
  • Adaora Oniya
  • Robyn Manning
  • Kylie Willison
  • Sarah Hobbs
  • Stephanie Miller
  • Sarah Stokely
  • Parela Jones (Groklaw)
  • Kim Weatherall
  • Lynee Pope
  • Leslie


  • Support
  • Knowledge of facts
  • Connections/networking with others
  • Assume stupidity over malice
  • Fulfill dreams
  • Education, pay expectations, negotiation skills, general expectations, etc.


I like China, but no matter how well I know the language, culture, I will always be a foriegner.

IT is similar, but it shouldn’t be.



Don’t seclude ourselves. Eventually we will become part of society, and the groups will become irrelevant.

Encourage others

  • Speak at schools
  • Go to Linuxchix meetings (Sydney)
  • Software freedom day
  • International women’s day
  • OLPC Australia
  • Take someone under your wing (if you have wings).

Talk positive stories, not the negative stories. Positive stories about FOSS in particular.

Girls more socially aware, partly because they are turned off IT.


Great women involved in IT and FOSS, but not well known.

Gross generalization: “why do you want to get into IT, all the men are dweebs and won’t even marry you.”