Fedora Women's Day 2020 Reflection

Originally published at: Fedora Women's Day 2020 Reflection – Fedora Community Blog

Fedora Women’s Day 2020 was a celebration of personal growth, community, and love for open source software. Over three days, women and non-binary folks from the Fedora community shared stories about their lives and work in tech. From the challenges and barriers that they encountered to the achievements and success that they earned, we had the privilege of learning about gendered experiences that informed the journey of each of our speakers.

In previous years, Fedora Women’s Day has been hosted locally by organizers around the world. In response to the pressures of COVID-19, Fedora Women’s Day went virtual this year. At a time where we can all benefit from a little community, this move created space for Fedorans and open source users everywhere to come together to learn, network, and be inspired. For many of the attendees, this was their first Fedora Women’s Day.

The event was hosted on Hopin.com following the success of Fedora Nest. We had 67 attendees and 24 speakers. Event organizer Marie Nordin did a fantastic job curating the speaker list and breaking it up with social activities. We were treated to fun events such as “Cake with FCAIC”, one on one networking sessions, group discussions, and pictionary.

Speakers

Our speaker list this year included: Amita Sharma, Aoife Maloney, Mariana Balla, Sarah Finn, Renata Gegaj, Ramya Parimi, Smera Goel, Alisha Mohanty, Aleksandra Fedorova, Maria Leonova, Rain Leander, Gabrielle Chang, Cali Dolfi, and Marie Nordin. Some brief highlights of the conference include:

Origin Stories

Many of our speakers discussed their beginnings with Fedora and open source software and how they have found fulfilling jobs through these journeys. Maria presented on her work as a graphic designer with Fedora and Red Hat. She had worked with closed source tools as a designer and discussed how her career changed as she began working in open source.

Aleksandra is a principal software engineer at Red Hat. She talked about how she went from being a Fedora newbie and junior tech support engineer to her current job along with becoming a member of the Fedora Council.

Renata Gegaj talked about her work as an open source UX designer. She got her start by working on an Outreachy internship with a focus on Gnome UX research. Renata continues to conduct UX research and design on a variety of open source projects.

Undaunted and Resilient

Many of our speakers discussed their experiences as women working in male dominated spaces. Aoife Maloney spoke on her experiences with the CPE team and the victories she achieved while establishing herself as a woman in tech.

Marie Nordin’s presentation showcased resilience as she discussed some of her experiences as woman with a non-tech background.

Cali Dolfi showcased struggles she faced while conducting sentiment analysis of Fedora mailing lists. Her presentation emphasized the need for more D&I work to make Fedora Linux a more inclusive space.

New Contributors

Ramya Parimi is a newer member of the Fedora D&I team. Her presentation encouraged other newcomers as she highlighted the experiences of learning how to collaborate using git.

Gabrielle Chang discussed her experiences and work as a Red Hat summer intern. Gabrielle emphasized the importance of good communication and asking questions – something that can be challenging to newcomers in any community.

Open Source, Together

Fedora Women’s Day 2020 was unique by virtue of the times. In that uniqueness, we created a women’s day that was accessible from all over the world. This event embodied and strengthened the truly global nature of our open source community. It served to bring together open source enthusiasts and professionals, who may not have been able to attend an in person event, to celebrate women and non-binary people in tech.

Thank you to the Fedora Diversity and Inclusion team for all of their hard work in putting this event together. These events are important for building stronger relationships within a community. Thank you to all the women and non-binary folks that presented. You provided examples that inspire and encourage others to be be courageous in their own lives. And finally, thank you to everyone who attended. A speaker series is just as much about the people there to hear, learn, and ask questions as it is about the speakers’ hard work.

We look forward to see you all for Fedora Women’s Day 2021!

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This year’s event was so fun. And we owe a huge thanks to @riecatnor for helping organize and put this all together at the eleventh hour! I am looking forward on building this out for next year too. :grinning: