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APACHE encourages female coders

APACHE encourages female coders
Ingrid Marson
August 22, 2005, 17:45 BST
A 'welcoming environment' is being created to spur more women into get involved
in Apache projects

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is hoping to increase the participation of
women in its open source projects by setting up a new mailing list.

Jean Anderson, who works on the Apache Derby database, said on Monday that the
list would provide "a supportive, encouraging forum to help women become more
involved in ASF projects".

"The list is open to all genders — you might be a woman who wants to become
more involved or you might be someone who would just like to help create a
welcoming environment," said Anderson in a mailing list posting.

Open source projects tend to have many more male developers than female
developers; this is partly a reflection of the under-representation of women in
software development as a whole, but other issues, such as sexism and
aggressive language on mailing lists and forums, have been known to deter women
from getting involved.

The free Linux distribution Debian set up a group last year to encourage the
participation of women. Helen Faulkner, a member of Debian Women, told ZDNet UK
last year that the group offers advice to women on a variety of topics from how
to install Debian to how to write a bug report. It is also encouraging Debian
to become more welcoming to women by flagging instances of sexism. 

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