Inspiring Inclusion: Celebrating the Women in Drupal | #1

A Tribute to Drupal Female Pioneers on International Women's Day 2024!

Only yesterday, during my research about International Women's Day, I learned that in Italy, the global occasion of Women's Day is celebrated by gifting a bunch of small yellow mimosa flowers to women. Even more interestingly, the tiny little mimosa flowers came into the play as an alternative to the French symbols of violets and lilies of the valley, which were expensive and scarce to rural Italians. A beautiful, distinctive tradition that illustrates the day of March 8, a day set aside to celebrate the women in this world, highlighting their political, economic, and social advancements while seeking solutions to close the gender parity gap. 

As International Women's Day dawns upon us, the global theme of embracing equity resonates with different but all sectors of society. While it is a day of celebration, it also serves as a poignant reminder of the continuous struggle for gender equality and the significant barriers that still obstruct the path of many. Inspired by the universal suffrage movement, the celebration has its roots in the larger labour movement but was truly internationalized after the UN started celebrating it. This year, as we commemorate this important day, The Droptimes [TDT] has turned our focus toward the vibrant women contributors in Drupal.

Historically, women have been significantly underrepresented in the technological sector. Studies show that women are underrepresented1 across the board in computing, with only about 5% of open-source software contributors being women. This percentage of women in the open-source field is significantly lower than in the tech industry as a whole. The numbers look better for the Drupal community as the percentage is up to a maximum of 17%,2 but it's still considerably low. 

"As open-source project communities go, Drupal is a relatively good place to be for women. That said, we can and must always be looking for continuous improvement."

noted Rachel Lawson.

Rachel is a seasoned Drupal veteran and Lead Drupal Developer at Cambridge University Press and Assessment. With her extensive experience and dedication, Rachel has made significant contributions to the Drupal ecosystem, serving as a mentor, speaker, and community leader. These were exactly the reasons The DropTimes was driven to approach Rachel Lawson for our "Women in Drupal" series, a tribute to the female pioneers of Drupal!

Rachel Lawson

"I’m especially keen that we work to promote women's work in Drupal right across the world. This is why I worked to ensure we worked with orgs like SheCodeAfrica and PrograMaria to bring people to DrupalCon. This needs to be taken to the next level—we need new faces in the project, diverse new faces, if we are to grow."

continued Rachel.

Along with Rachel Lawson, we reached out to several women contributors in Drupal who were generous enough to share their thoughts with us on the occasion of International Women's Day. We are proud and privileged to spread the word about the women in Drupal!

The campaign theme of International Women's Day 2024 is "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. On the occasion of IWD, Fei Lauren, the leader of Drupal Diversity and Inclusion, has a message for her fellow Drupalers.

Fei Lauren

 "To all of the brilliant women, transgender, and non-binary folks out there who need to hear this: You are capable of more than you give yourself credit for! There have been countless studies done on gender and the confidence gap—too many of us underestimate ourselves constantly. We plague ourselves with self-limiting beliefs, which become self-fulfilling prophecies. Enough of that. Aim higher; you got this!"

Fei also has a very interesting take on how Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have to be fostered within a community.

"Collecting quality data is critical when it comes to driving change, but we must remember that human beings are underneath those numbers. Too often, we try to change numbers without taking the time to build trusting relationships and healthy communication pipelines with the people represented."

She also points out a significant issue: the discussion around DEI is often too abstract and lacks concrete data to identify specific problems. Fei emphasizes that, frequently, the necessary data is not even available. Moreover, when data is accessible, solutions are often proposed without consulting the affected individuals. Fei advocates for a shift in perspective, suggesting that every action should be considered through a DEI lens.

"If we really want to drive change, we need to learn how to ask the right questions."

—Fei Lauren

Sinduri Guntupalli, a dynamic Product Manager at Drunomics, acknowledges the impeccable work done by groups such as Women in Drupal and Drupal Diversity and Inclusion to promote the inclusion of women in the Drupal community. She also believes that,

Sinduri Guntupalli

 "Encouraging individual firms to raise awareness about these initiatives among their colleagues and, more importantly companies providing the necessary support for employees to engage in these efforts, thereby contributing to a more widespread positive impact would be highly beneficial."

Stella Power, the founder and Managing Director at Annertech, needs fresh ideas and new faces to join the community.

Stella Power

 "I'd love to see more newcomers in the community. That’s my biggest aspiration for the Drupal community. Fresh minds mean new ideas."

says Stella and Sinduri agree to it.

Sinduri probes that the key to fostering diversity and inclusion lies in offering opportunities to beginners from various backgrounds. She believes individuals and companies within the Drupal community are responsible for cultivating such an environment.

Krishna R.P., Project Manager at Zyxware Technologies, believes that envisioning positive changes within the Drupal community is pivotal. One significant transformation involves a sustained focus on accessibility and usability, ensuring that Drupal remains user-friendly and inclusive. She also adds,

Krishna RP

"To my fellow Drupalers, I advocate for ongoing collaboration, empathy, and a steadfast commitment to inclusivity. Let's collectively strive to cultivate a Drupal community that is not only welcoming but actively supportive, allowing every member to feel valued and empowered to contribute. Whether through mentorship, outreach endeavours, or simply fostering a culture of respect, each of us plays a crucial role in constructing a more robust and inclusive Drupal community."

While discussing the limitations faced by women in the tech sector, AmyJune Hineline, who has her roots in Drupal and regularly contributes to open-source, expressed concern.

AmyJune Hineline

"One of the barriers for women attending conferences, meetups, and sprints, and thus not being speakers, mentors, or organizers, is often the need for more childcare. Providing support for this at Drupal events could significantly increase participation."

Krishna agrees with AmyJune when she says,

"It's crucial to actively reach out to women and encourage the participation of returning mothers in Drupal events, conferences, and community activities. Establishing mentorship programs tailored specifically to women, particularly returning mothers, can provide valuable guidance and support by pairing newcomers with experienced mentors."

As a non-technical person, I have always wondered if there is a gender attribute to code. While I directed this question to our featured individuals, they unanimously assured me that the code is gender-neutral, comprising logical instructions and syntax devoid of any inherent association with a specific gender. Nevertheless, it's crucial to acknowledge that cultural influences can impact the gender distribution within the coding community and the preferences individuals have for specific projects.

"Historically, the tech industry has been predominantly male, but ongoing efforts aim to promote diversity and inclusion. As more women and individuals from underrepresented groups join the field, coding styles and approaches may diversify, contributing to a richer programming landscape."

says Krishna.

"What I would say is that having a team of developers who have a diverse set of experiences—be they gender, age, background, etc DOES create noticeably better code because all of those different experiences help us to understand all of the different experiences of those we are coding solutions for. It’s not the individual, it’s the mix!"

added Rachel.

In conclusion, while code itself may not hold gender attributes, the attributes of those who write, understand, and contribute to it have the profound potential to embody diversity and inclusion. This International Women's Day, let us recognize and commit to expanding the horizons of the open-source community, particularly within Drupal, by embracing and empowering individuals from all walks of life.

"The best way to foster growth in any sector is to demonstrate from the top. “If you see it you can be it” is a real thing."

Rachel believes that a key enabler of more women (or, indeed, other under-represented groups of people) in the community is seeing representatives in the leadership of the project. By nurturing a more varied and inclusive environment, we enrich the community and enhance the creativity, effectiveness, and resilience of the technology we build.

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. 

Please let us know if any women in the Drupal Community have inspired you and would like us to know and help us spread the word about them. Share your insights with us at [email protected].

Let's inspire inclusion! Happy International Women's Day!

  • 1Paulina Grzegorzewska, Joinup, an official website of the European Union, “There are fewer women in open source than in the ICT sector overall” Published 09/06/2021, URL:
  • 2Data published by Women in Drupal (formerly DrupalChix), a voluntary group in their dedicated page at

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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