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Understanding and supporting women’s participation in open source software

Trinkenreich, Bianca (2022) Understanding and supporting women’s participation in open source software. Doctoral thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Women represent less than 24% of employees in the software development industry and experience various types of prejudice and bias. Despite various efforts to increase diversity and multi-gendered participation, women are even more underrepresented in Open Source Software (OSS) projects. Many OSS communities are aware of the importance of correcting this imbalance and spend significant resources on a variety of onboarding and outreach programs targeted to women. However, these programs are insufficient if those who onboard do not feel that they belong to the community and ultimately abandon the project---a frequent occurrence in OSS. Previous research in psychology, health care, and education has shown that a sense of belonging is a basic human need that affects a broad variety of behaviors and has implications for long-term engagement and job satisfaction. Nevertheless, the investigation of a sense of belonging in OSS so far has been under-explored. It is still unclear what environmental factors contribute to a (lack of a) sense of belonging and how to improve it in practice. In my PhD, I investigate the following questions: How do women participate in OSS projects? How do different forces affect women’s participation in a large and community-oriented OSS project? I worked with the Linux Kernel managers on a case study that has the ultimate goal to increase women's participation. Some problems surpass the organization and are related to the local culture of the OSS communities. There are problems that go beyond the company's gates and permeate society, which often contributes to this cultural legacy. However, there is also space for improvement. The results of this research include a theoretical framework that describes open-source-specific factors that can impact women's participation in OSS projects.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Additional Information: Open source software industry; Women; Participation;
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences > School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2023 17:03
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 17:03
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/6024

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