Inspiring Inclusion: Celebrating the Women in Drupal | #2

A Tribute to Female Pioneers in Drupal.

Within the diverse and vibrant community of Drupal, the contributions and diligence of its women require persistent acknowledgment. Without being oblivious to this fact and completely understanding that the celebration of women folk in the Drupal community cannot be limited to a day, The DropTimes set out to set apart the month of March to showcase the voices of Drupal's women. A small yet not futile gesture! A month to celebrate the Women in Drupal!

The response we received from the community and the generosity of its people to leave a message for fellow Drupalers during the month of International Women's Day celebration was overwhelming. Everyone we contacted was happy to share their thoughts, struggles, and vision for Drupal. The DropTimes also received several nominations for our "Women in Drupal" series, keeping the spirit of the Drupal community alive.

Historically, women have been significantly underrepresented in the technological sector, but lately, several initiatives have ensured diversity, inclusion, and equity within the technology sector. The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2024 was "Inspire Inclusion." The Drupal Community has taken several strides towards fostering a more inclusive environment for women and other underrepresented groups. Initiatives such as the Drupal Diversity & Inclusion Group are pivotal in these efforts. 

April Sides

"Drupal remains a strong candidate for content management needs. This is true because the community continues to drive innovation through focused initiatives. Our culture of collaboration and inclusion is what drives our relevance."

said April Sides, Principal Software Engineer, Red Hat.

April reiterates that contributions matter regardless of whether they are code contributions or sharing knowledge and experience through speaking at events. She adds,

"Representation matters. Seeing someone like us contributing to the project and community, inspires us to do the same. Assuring members of marginalized groups in our community that their skills, knowledge, and experience are valued and can foster a safe environment for courage."

Stephanie Bridges

Stephanie Bridges, Technical Architect at Digital Polygon, believes that the community should persist in seeking methods to enhance the visibility of women's participation to the general public. She advocates for the features of women from all levels within the community, encourages them to speak at community events, and supports them in pursuing leadership roles within the community. Stephanie emphasizes the importance of showcasing the diverse contributions of women, thus promoting a more inclusive and balanced environment.

"Encouraging women to get involved in training initiatives and events geared toward students would be impactful in promoting diversity and inclusion. I'm really an introvert, so a lot of this is very far outside my comfort zone. Still, if we want to make inroads into the number of women in our community, we need to reach out early so that young people can see people who look like them in roles that they may think they can't achieve."

added Stephanie.

Laura Johnson

As a female developer, Laura Johnson, Senior Software Engineer at Four Kitchens, reflects on the importance of enhancing diversity within the community, focusing particularly on supporting junior developers. She recognizes that entering the contribution space can be daunting for newcomers, just as Stephanie mentioned. She acknowledges that women who are junior developers often confront the challenge of imposter syndrome, in addition to the steep learning curve common to all new entrants. Laura underscores the necessity of creating a more welcoming and supportive environment for these individuals. So her message to fellow Drupal seniors is that,

I would like to see us create more opportunities for junior developers in the contribution space. Tag more issues with ‘novice’ and save them for junior devs wherever possible. Post welcoming messages on our projects. Give opportunities to junior developers to maintain projects, and support them. 

And to fellow women engineers, Laura says,

"Take the lead when opportunities arise! We need women in leadership roles in those spaces."

Mary Blabaum

Mary Blabaum, Director of Product Design at Acquia, agrees that being a woman in tech can be overwhelming,

"and at times feels daunting to have to continuously advocate for a seat at the table - to need to be the best or better to even be seen."

Mary believes that the Drupal Community has great potential for continued growth in terms of diversity and inclusion. Leaders and community members should find opportunities to incorporate a focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in their existing activities, such as regional groups and meetups. 

"Featuring women in posts and further highlighting women in tech will inspire others to pursue a career in technology - sharing that open door forward is something we as community members can all do!"

Tiffany Farriss, Owner and CEO of Palantir, points out that Drupal was among the first communities to adopt a Code of Conduct (CoC) for the community at large as well as its events, starting with DrupalCon Denver. 

Tiffany Farriss

"Our CoCs are supported by a very mature conflict resolution process and team. We have a mentoring team that helps activate new folks to contribute. It’s that commitment to creating a truly open, supportive, and accessible project that has converted those who come for the software to stay for the community."

added Tiffany. She also points out that it is important to remain mindful that inherent biases exist and do also show up when women contribute code to open-source projects with the help of a study: Gender Differences And Bias In Open-Source: Pull Request Acceptance Of Women Versus Men.

Jill Moraca

Many of our fellow women Drupalers shared quotes of reaffirmation for their aspiring members. Jill Moraca, Senior Director of Web Development Services at Princeton University's Office of Information Technology, believes empowering women in technology begins with recognizing the diverse avenues for contribution within open-source projects like Drupal. Beyond coding, opportunities abound in user experience, design, training, and documentation. The beauty of open source lies in its inclusivity; anyone can participate and make a meaningful impact. 

"My message to fellow Drupalers is to find what interests you and contribute with confidence. Find a local Drupal community or start your own. Participate online or in person. Whatever works for you. And know that even if you feel that you need more experience, your participation still matters."

Surabhi Gokte

"I really hope to see a day where we don't have to worry about ensuring that women (or any gender, for that matter) are more visible or that there is enough diversity within community groups, etc. That would be the ideal world, where we would be openly secure in our gender, and equality would be the norm."

hopes Surabhi Gokte, Axelerant.

She also suggests tackling gender diversity issues by implementing practical steps towards creating a more inclusive environment. She proposes organizing Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions at local events to explore the lack of diversity, specifically focusing on the challenges faced by women, trans-women, and minority genders. Surabhi believes that insights from these discussions can illuminate the path forward in enhancing gender inclusivity.

Through this series, The DropTimes aims to illuminate the diverse voices and talents that enrich the Drupal community. Join us throughout March as we explore their journeys, challenges, and insights, offering inspiration and advocating for greater inclusion within the tech industry and beyond. 

Stay tuned for Part 3. Let's Celebrate Inclusion!

Note: The vision of this web portal is to help promote news and stories around the Drupal community and promote and celebrate the people and organizations in the community. We strive to create and distribute our content based on these content policy. If you see any omission/variation on this please let us know in the comments below and we will try to address the issue as best we can.

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