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It’s official, over 5% of Ubuntu Members are women!


Today I’m delighted to announce that it’s official:

There are currently 625 Ubuntu Members and at least 32 of them are women, which means over 5% of Ubuntu Members are women!

We hate turning people into numbers, but late last year it was decided by the Ubuntu Women Project that we’d start tracking metrics of the percentage of women who are Ubuntu Members. This tracking was launched by Alan Bell and bases criteria of gender upon: self-identification, use of public resources (wiki pages, public blogs), and our own public knowledge from meeting each other at UDS and other conferences (there very well may even be more women working in our midst who have not chosen to disclose their gender in public).

Why is 5% important? Back in 2006 the oft-cited FLOSSPOLS declared that only about 1.5% of FLOSS community members were female. A poll in the Ubuntu forums community around the same time came back with a number of 2.4%. We have since launched Ubuntu Women and worked hard to support and encourage women who come to us to become more involved with the the project, and then to make that step to Membership when they were ready. It’s exciting to see the numbers improve over the years, and I hope that the Ubuntu Women Project can continue to make a difference moving forward, eventually driving itself to obsolescence.

Ubuntu Women

Of course Ubuntu Women didn’t help all 5% of these women. In my past few years of involvement I’ve been seeing more women becoming involved with the community on their own, and today there is a large number women who work on Ubuntu who have never been involved with Ubuntu Women at all. It’s exciting to watch Ubuntu become a more inclusive community and to see the passion and support of new people joining from existing community members overcome (or negate) many of the barriers that may have been problems in the past.

Interested in the project? If you want to help out or are interested yourself, head over to ubuntu-women.org to learn more.


  • Leigh Honeywell

    Huzzah! Thanks for posting this, Lyz, and thanks to Alan for compiling the stats.

  • silner

    I’m trying to find out how this compares with the proprietary software world, to get a sense of perspective on it?

  • pleia2

    @silner According to the same FLOSSPOLS report, the number in the proprietary software world is 28%

  • Jonathan Carter

    Now it’s time to start pushing for 10%!

  • pleia2

    Haha, right on Jonathan!

  • silner

    Thanks Liz

    That’s a very big difference. That’s kind of hard to explain by sexism alone and leaves me wondering if women just aren’t as interested?

    Still the growth makes it clear they are and just leaves me a bit confused.

  • pleia2

    There are lots of reasons (and books and papers on the subject), but a major one is that women aren’t exposed to Linux and Open Source in the same way that men are – frequently we aren’t exposed at all.

    Once exposed it’s rarely with someone who presents it in a way that attracts our interest as a hobby.

  • Leigh Honeywell

    @silner: we’ll never solve bug #1 with that kind of defeatist attitude :p

  • mezzenger

    I think people are comparing apples and oranges here. 5% of all members of a group called Ubuntu are female, while 28% of what “According to the same FLOSSPOLS report, the number in the proprietary software world is 28%” are female?? Is there a group called “Proprietary Software”? No. Do people of both sexes have to use the software that their jobs supply? Yes. So there is no correlation for this metric.

    But congratulations to the 625 member Ubuntu group for drawing more women into their group.

    But I would say that there are more Linux users percentage wise who are women than 5%. I have no data to back that up.

  • pleia2

    To clarify: “Ubuntu Members” have contributed in some way to the Ubuntu project and were added via a meeting with a membership board.

    I certainly do work with a lot of women who use Linux on a daily basis so it’s also my hope that the number is above 5% :)

  • Rebecca

    Awesome. Fedora is next. *16-year-old Linux enthusiast*

  • pleia2

    @Rebecca I sure hope so!

    Happy release day Fedora :)

  • Mackenzie

    The 28% is referring to % of people involved in the production of proprietary commercial software. That is, the percent of the software development industry that is female.

    I think it makes perfect sense to compare the group of people who make Ubuntu (and the group of people who make Free Software overall) to the group of people who make proprietary software.

  • Valorie Zimmerman

    Huzzah!!! Onward and upward, until the idea of a separate Ubuntu-Women project is silly. Speed the day.

  • MeanEYE

    Oh there are more. Most windows users I converted were females. I need to suggest to them :) your Facebook page or something else… :)

  • Robert

    I’m delighted Ubuntu has a higher than average participation among women, but still 5% is much lower than proportion of of females using Windows, which would be closer to 50%. It’s a shame because some of the most interesting articles I’ve read about Linux on the net have been written by women. And when I discuss Ubuntu, Linux and open source with women, I am usually greeted with puzzlement.

    But all the same, do keep up the good work. And I’ll definitely crack open the champagne when the figure reaches 25%.

  • seviojazosverd

    I’m a women and I use Ubuntu too. :)

  • Alan Bell

    @Robert, well this is measuring something slightly different to the user population, this is of the 625 people who have made a significant and sustained contribution to Ubuntu and have been recognised by the community through the membership process. Reaching the 5% milestone is great news, but it certainly isn’t the end of the story, double figures would be great. I think it should end up in the long term at somewhere above 20% which is the proportion of CompSci graduates.

  • przemo_one

    I don’t think men are more exposed to Linux. I had to get it on my own. It’s your fault and a fault of society. Women are not as good in technology as men. That’s what the society thinks. If you think so you will not be exposed, because of that concept. No one stops you from browsing the web and searching. I had to do that.

  • K_Wasseem

    Ubuntu is suddenly sounding so much sexier :D
    I think this is great going girls!

  • pleia2

    @przemo_one Your comment is somewhat confusing and I don’t agree with most of it because I’ve read things that are contrary, however I will address one portion:

    and a fault of society

    This is what our project is around to try and fix.

    I also think you’ll find that you’re somewhat exceptional to have discovered Linux online on your own without the influence of friends, family, school or co-workers.

  • pleia2

    @K_Wasseem Calling Ubuntu “sexier” because it has more women is really creepy. Please don’t.

  • Ubuntu woman

    This is great news! I hope more and more women will come to appreciate Ubuntu and Linux.

  • @tiempo3000

    What about the gays and lesbians?

  • pleia2

    @tiempo3000 I don’t know, thus far ubuntu-lgbt has not published any statistics. I’m not involved with that project so don’t know whether they are planning to, or if they feel there is a need for it.

  • Becka

    Congratulations to Ubuntu!!! This brought a big smile today as I began to write the project proposal for my dissertation on the under representation of women in F/LOSS.

  • pleia2

    @Becka Great! And best wishes for your dissertation, I hope you find more good news :)