Gender Discrimination in Open Source Software

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* Article: ‘Patches don’t have gender’: What is not open in open source software. By Dawn Nafus. New Media and Society.



"While open source software development promises a fairer, more democratic model of software production often compared to a gift economy, it also is far more male dominated than other forms of software production. The specific ways F/LOSS instantiates notions of openness in everyday practice exacerbates the exclusion of women. ‘Openness’ is a complex construct that affects more than intellectual property arrangements. It weaves together ideas about authorship, agency, and the circumstances under which knowledge and code can and cannot be exchanged. While open source developers believe technology is orthogonal to the social, notions of openness tie the social to the technical by separating persons from one another and relieving them of obligations that might be created in the course of other forms of gift exchange. In doing so, men monopolize code authorship and simultaneously de-legitimize the kinds of social ties necessary to build mechanisms for women’s inclusion."