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<head>
<title>International Women's Day: No freedom without diversity and gender equality</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>International Women's Day: No freedom without diversity and gender equality</h1>
<p>
Today, the FSFE celebrates International Women's Day, a global day
calling for women's rights and gender parity. As in many other
communities, women in Free Software communities face gender
discrimination on a daily basis. To help improve their environment and
raise awareness, the FSFE wants to use today's occasion to share our
ongoing efforts to improve gender balance and ensure gender equality.
</p>
<p>
Gender discrimination is a massive problem throughout history. But it was
only in the beginning of the 20th century when first countries started to
introduce an International Woman's Day which was adopted by the United
Nations in 1975 as a global day of celebration and a focal point in the
movement for women's rights. The UN theme for
<a href="http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/international-womens-day">International Women's Day in 2019</a>
is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” to help put a focus on
the role that technological innovation by and for women and girls plays
in efforts to achieve gender equality. This theme reminds us of the role
of Free Software in achieving self-emancipation and gender equality.
</p>
<figure>
<img
src="https://pics.fsfe.org/uploads/medium/906911a8eaebb6385c68a9ed0e4b91c0.jpg"
alt="a picture showing diverse tux"/>
<figcaption>
Freedom is all about diversity.
</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>
Ever more, technology controls every single aspect of our lives. But
women have traditionally been and still are underrepresented in the
bodies shaping those technologies that change our society. Core reasons
are traditional and exclusive male-driven organisation cultures and the
creation of artificial barriers to prevent women's influence on shaping
technology the way they see fit. To empower women and achieve true gender
equality in our society, it is inevitable to offer women the same access
to tinker with technology as man have.
</p>
<p>
Free Software is technology that respects and empowers any user equally
and puts everyone of us in control of technology. This way, the four
universal freedoms of Free Software offer fertile soil for emancipating
technologies without restrictions towards gender or any other
backgrounds. At the Free Software Foundation Europe we are working
towards ensuring that women are equally empowered to shape technology,
and thereby change society for the better. Some actions that we have
taken to achieve this include helping to establish female role models in
technology by encouraging female speakers at our events, by balancing
gender contributions in our public pictures and statements, and for job
applications we give preference to applicants who identify as part of a
traditionally marginalised demographic in technology for applications of
equal strength.
</p>
<p>
But problems already arise on a much lower level and unfortunately,
taking part in discussions is not always equal for everyone. We can see
gender discrimination in nearly all communities, most prominently by
people using their dominant positions or attitude to discriminate against
or intimidate women. But regardless of how much someone has contributed
to discussions with their knowledge, or how well connected they are
within our community, or how much they have donated or are planning to
donate: discriminatory, disparaging or offensive speech or actions,
including as to (but not limited to) gender, sexuality, race,
nationality, religion or profession has no place in our community! We are
proud to be a community of many different nationalities and backgrounds,
and we cherish our strength in diversity.
</p>
<p>
To further strengthen diversity within the FSFE, we take an active role
in establishing a welcoming environment for everyone inside our
community. Our staffers and executives are consulting with experts on
discrimination and inclusion, and to ensure that in the FSFE all
participants can, at all times, feel at ease to participate without
fearing any form of attack, reprisal or harassment, we have adopted a
<a href="/about/codeofconduct.html">Code of Conduct</a>. Any behaviour
contrary to the principles enshrined in this Code of Conduct, can and
shall be brought to the attention of a respective local or our
<a href="/about/codeofconduct#CARE">central CARE team</a>. We are
convinced that any case we are being made aware of will help in making
the environment more attractive and welcoming for everyone.
</p>
<blockquote>
The FSFE's mission is to empower people to control technology. To make
sure that every human can understand how software works, use the software
for any purpose, share it with others and adopt it to their needs, it is
crucial that all women can exercise those rights as well to shape
technology and create a better society for all of us. We want to
contribute our part in balancing the power of who controls technology,
and in general contribute to better gender equality inside our own as
well as in other Free Software communities. We therefore ask you to join
us on this path.
</blockquote>
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