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Advocate for women in open source to keynote 2012 Wikimania

Wikimedia District of Columbia (Wikimedia DC), the organizer of Wikimania 2012, has announced that Mary Gardiner will keynote the opening session of Wikimania 2012 in Washington, DC on July 12.  Gardiner is the co-founder of The Ada Initiative(TAI) and an important advocate for women in open source and open culture.

This announcement builds on WikiWomen’s History Month, a partnership between the Wikimedia Foundation, TAI, and OCLC. It shows a commitment by the Wikimedia community to make women’s participation in tech and wikis a central goal moving forward.

“Wikimania’s choice of Mary Gardiner says that the Wikipedia community is moving on from asking ‘Is the underrepresentation of women a problem?’ to asking ‘What can we do to increase the representation of women?’,” said Valerie Aurora, a co-founder of TAI and an open source developer.

Ada Initiative co-founder Mary Gardiner. Photo: Mary Gardiner, CC-BY-SA

Aurora noted that it has taken a while for one of the world’s largest open source communities to view the issue in that light. “Many people have worked hard for several years to get the community to pay serious attention to the gender gap. Now it’s starting to look like they have succeeded, and we can start having a conversation on what to do to close the gender gap.”

Wikimania 2012 presents a great opportunity to do just that. Gardiner is the first female keynote speaker at a Wikimania. Many of the over 400 submissions we received were made by female contributors, with several focusing specifically on the role of women in the Wikimedia movement. In addition, AdaCamp DC, an unconference event, will coincide with the Wikimania 2012 Hackathon/Pre-Conference Developer Days on July 10-11.

Both Gardiner and Aurora are excited for the opportunity to connect with the global community. ”We will have quite a few experts on Wikipedia and related projects at this year’s AdaCamp,” says Aurora, “and I am looking forward to seeing what they think up.”

To top it all off, Washington DC is home to one of the most active communities of women in tech anywhere in the world, with groups such as Women in Technology and DC Web Women present in the area. All of this makes Wikimania 2012 a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the important role of women in tech, open source and wikis.

Thank you,

Nicholas Michael Bashour, President of Wikimedia District of Columbia and General Manager for Wikimania 2012
Sarah Stierch, Community Fellow, Wikimedia Foundation and member of the Ada Initiative Advisory Board

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