Former Wikimedia participants in the FOSS OPW and the GSoC

The Free and Open Source Software Outreach Program for Women offers paid internships to developers and other technical contributors working on projects together with free software organizations. The program is run by the GNOME Foundation, joined by a stellar group of free software projects. You can learn about how this program works in this cartoon. Wikimedia is a strong stakeholder of this initiative. It fits into our strategy to prioritize efforts that empower disadvantaged and underrepresented communities by overcoming barriers to participation. There is no technical reason to have women underrepresented in open source projects, yet this is the reality we still have today.

So here we are in another OPW round, ready to keep working toward the goal of breaking even. We welcome candidates! This call is open to Wikimedia volunteers (editors, developers, etc.) and also to people who would contribute for the first time in our projects. We have a list of project ideas and we are also open to hear your own proposals.

In past editions, we have seen that candidates coming through a direct recommendation have good chances of success. It is also known that many good potential candidates will be reluctant to step in, but they will if someone (like you) encourages them to apply, or to contact us with any questions. You can make a difference. If you know women with background / interest in software development or open source and full time availability between December and March, please forward them this invitation.

Success stories

Wikimedia joined the FOSS OPW program in 2012 in its fifth round, the first one open to other organizations beyond GNOME. Sucheta Goshal and Teresa Cho were among the first Wikimedia interns. Later they became contractors for the Wikimedia Foundation in the Language Engineering and the Analytics team, respectively. Rachel Thomas joined the next round in 2013 with an internship on Quality Assurance and some time later she got a job in Boston on the same field.

In the Summer-in-Northern-Hemisphere edition, we synchronize our participation in OPW and Google Summer of Code (GSoC), a successful tactical move that has brought many Wikimedian women to a predominantly masculine program. Moriel Schottlender applied simultaneously to OPW and Google Summer of Code, her internship was devoted to the development of a VisualEditor plugin, and now she is working full time as a member of that team, where her former mentors are now her colleagues. In the same round, Aarti Kumari Dwivedi completed her project Refactoring of ProofreadPage extension and a few months later she was one of the mentors in Wikimedia’s first participation in Google Code-in. Himeshi De Silva worked successfully on a Semantic MediaWiki extension, and since then she has been participating in a series of free software events in Asia, Europe, and (soon) America. Liangent and Molly White (aka GorillaWarfare) already were established community contributors, they submitted proposals about problems they knew well and suffered as volunteers, and they were able to work full time on them during a Summer, getting close to fixing them.

Introduce yourself, ask, apply

The application period starts on September 22nd and ends one month later on October 22nd. Candidates who announce their plans early and get in touch with potential mentors have higher chances of success. The application process is well documented and we are already welcoming the early birds.

The last OPW round just finished a few weeks ago. Check the profiles and the reports of the six interns that took part. Feel free to contact them. Half year ago they were in the same situation as new candidates are now. You or someone you know could be selected for the next round. “OPW, Yes you should ladies.”

Quim Gil, Engineering Community Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation