Bonum Certa Men Certa

Improving the Image of Women in Free Software by Hiring and Promoting the Proficient Ones

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Jun 12, 2024

GNOME Foundation Welcomes Holly Million as Executive Director

The GNOME Foundation's news section is relatively stale and as far we can tell the first time Madame Million spoke out (rather than be spoken about, usually by Robert McQueen) was last month. She has been trying to keep a low profile and she deleted past blogs/videos, i.e. trying to hide her past basically. Not a word since October.

Considering Million's total lack of background in Free software, it remains totally unclear how or why she got this job. It's part of a pattern [1, 2].

Does this support women? Or does it reinforce the stigma that women are to be "props" controlled by men, led by men due to their lack of understanding in this domain? Call it the "blue hair syndrome"; the FSF's staff is 50% female and in 20+ years of Tux Machines it was always led by women. Those are women who deserved it.

Million's shaman background isn't the problem, or even the superstitious ghost-chasing. The problem is that she has absolutely no background in Free software. This signals to other women that promotion can be achieved irrespective of work or, put another way, actual skills and accomplishments are irrelevant.

We struggle to see how this can help women's image and women's rights. It contributes to existing stereotypes. Daniel Pocock wrote a great deal about this subject, having spoken to and worked with women who actually code, they don't just wear some t-shirt and take photos for men's sites. They're too busy in the trenches, fighting and coding rather than posing for photographs.

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