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Diversity in Open Source is lower than diversity in Tech

by Ray Hayes

If you are not familiar with open source software or OSS, here is a brief overview. OSS is a computer software that uses a licensed source code which allows users to study, modify and circulate software to anyone for any purpose they wish.  Amazon Echo, Linux and even some cars are just a few examples of open source platforms.

Users of OSS are from almost every race and gender, however the OSS development community is the total opposite. The OSS community is composed of mostly white males and it makes the tech industry diversity problem minuscule. GitHub recently surveyed 5,500 OSS users and developers from around the world and learned that almost 95 percent of respondents are men, 3 percent women, and 1 percent are non-binary.

Although the GitHub survey provided some discouraging insights in the OSS community, there were some positive for inclusion. According to Wired.com, “About 7 percent of the survey respondents identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, or another minority sexual orientation.” Even though there is a positive, it doesn’t exclude the fact that there is much needed work to accomplish in the OSS community. If we think critically about the OSS community’s diversity problem, I would conclude that if OSS’s problem persist then it could influence or even enhance the overall tech industries diversity issues as well. Unfortunately, this will lead to minorities still being left out of the tech job market. That is simply unacceptable and needs to be corrected.

If you are interested in learning more about the GitHub survey please click here.


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