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F Yeah!

Tue, 2014-09-16 14:46

TL;DR: Give The Ada Initiative $128 today (or $10/month), and you’ll get the coolest sticker I’ve seen in ages!

 Feminism

For a long time, I was afraid to use the F-word. I studied CS, linguistics & German at university, and got into open source as a user and documentation contributor, more than a decade ago. I pretty quickly moved on to more community- and event-organisational things in my hobby/open source work, while continuing as a tech writer in my professional work (which has been a mix of open source and not).

And throughout my education, and my early open source days, I really tried to be “one of the guys”. It was hard, but I got good at it. I was elected to the board of the Apache Software Foundation, and appointed Executive Vice President of the Foundation. I remain the only woman to have achieved either of those distinctions. And when I did, I was told–on a mailing list!–that whether or not I was comfortable with the choice of imagery, I had big balls.

By then, though, I had realised that something was broken. Why should I need to have balls, whatever their size, metaphorical or literal, to do something I loved and was good at? Why should I have to adapt myself to fit an environment that was built by and for people who weren’t like me?

The Ada Initiative was still just an idea, without a real shape, or even a name, at that time. But as that shape emerged, from the two awesome women who founded it, through the group of role models and inspirations who advise and continue to run it, to the innumerable supporters who make it possible, it has made real and lasting change. It has provided a welcoming environment of its own, and has given many other groups the tools they needed to adapt the environments they had built, to be inclusive of people who weren’t like them.

Right now, I’m working–and being paid!–to help organize AdaCamp Berlin. This is literally a dream come true for me: volunteer work is amazing, but it has to be singing in a choir or it very quickly leads to burnout. Seeing the huge demand for AdaCamp Berlin, as well as the interest from other folk in running similar events in the future, is incredibly rewarding. And being paid for the value I bring is an important act of feminism.

The Ada Initiative is doing amazing work, but it needs individual donations, not just ethical corporate sponsors, to keep it going. Donate today to help us run more AdaCamps and Ally Skills Workshops, and develop more programs like our Anti-Harassment Policy and our Impostor Syndrome Training.

And, if you give $128 (or $10/month), you can get an awesome sticker pack, including the F-Word sticker designed just for this campaign! Stick it to your laptop, or to the man–it’s up to you :-)

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