On the 24th of January the #Ubuntu-classroom channel on IRC has hosted a session introducing the local Italian branch of the Ubuntu-Women project. The session was hosted by Flavia Weisghizzi (deindre) and Silvia Bindelli (dolasilla), who told us the reasons behind their efforts, where this idea came from and how they’ve worked so far to get the outcome they achieved.
Silvia and Flavia have been deeply driven in this initiative by the wish to overcome linguistic and cultural barrier that an English mailing list may represent for non native-English speakers. Moreover, a localized branch of Ubuntu Women working in the scope of a LoCo team has the key purpose of building a bridge between local community and international one, by translating in both directions news and initiatives and supporting women who have shown interest in Ubuntu in removing the difficulties that they may encounter due to cultural and/or communication mismatches.
The mentoring program is probably one of the most interesting activities they have undertaken among others: the Ubuntu Woman-it list has become a starting point for many LoCo team’s activities, where female newcomers are oriented in choosing the right team in which to be involved and helped in moving first steps toward that direction. Another initiative is the collaboration with an Italian blog, GirlGeekLife.com, which is publishing articles about Ubuntu and its applications written by UbuntuWomen-it members. Women presence itself in FOSS is often very inspiring: this is the reason why they got going on speakers tutoring project, whose aim is encouraging women participation in FOSS related events and demonstrating that, in spite of every prejudice, women are first class citizens in FOSS world.
Ubuntu Women-it mailing list is subscribed so far by approximately 40 followers, both women and men: even if someone has implied that this was a way to self-isolate women, generally most people were absolutely supportive, and very happy to give their hand to improve such an initiative and getting more women involved.
It’s easy to comprehend the great value of this kind of initiatives, especially in those countries, like Italy, in which machismo writes behavioural rules between the two sexes: keep on considering women a not very remarkable minority, is really an obstacle de facto to outreach of new women, and a certain loss for FOSS community.
You can find out more about Ubuntu Women-it project on http://wiki.ubuntu-it.org/GruppoPromozione/UbuntuWomen
Full logs from this session available here.