One criticism I’ve heard about my article is that I should have addressed the computing industry as a whole, rather than targeting Open Source. That the problem of women participating is much more general.
I chose to write about Open Source because that’s my community. I installed Slackware in 1995 and learned about operating systems from a Linux command prompt, years before I took a class about it. When I worked at Intel, and there were a lot more women in my systems administration group (about 20%) than I saw on the Linux Kernel mailing list, the Cricket developers list or BugTraq. That’s part of where I formed my opinion.
Here’s a little graph showing the number of bachelor’s degrees granted in computer science. We’ve had a 15% drop in degrees granted since 1985. I wonder what we were doing right in the early ’80s.
There are other resources: FLOSSPOLS, salary studies that show gender breakdowns. I’ve also read figures on conference attendance and observed the difference in open source and system administration conferences. I do admit that I have not seen studies that directly compare open source participation to closed source participation.
How about you? Anyone out there have a study they can refer me to?