An informal WSOP sociology survey
A big hello to all the ladies in the crowd, especially to those of you who have applied to GNOME's Women's Summer Outreach Program (WSOP).
For Google's Summer of Code program (GSoC), about 180 candidates applied to have their proposals sponsored. All of the candidates were men. Chris Ball has informed me that the same order of magnitude of women have applied thus far for WSOP, and there's still another week left to accept applications. A lot of the applicants are quite qualified (a large number of CS PhDs applied, for instance) and the general quality of the applications and applicants has been astoundingly good.
So, I have a question for you: why? Why did you apply to WSOP? Why didn't you apply to GSoC?
There seem to be a lot of really qualified women in this group, and it stands to reason that some women candidates would have been accepted in the GSoC pool (perhaps even 50:50, just going by the total number of applicants). The WSOP seems to me to have some major strikes going against it:
- WSOP's payoff is less ($3000 vs. $4500)
- WSOP's number of advertized positions is less (3) than the general SoC allotment (20)
- WSOP was advertized when a lot of North American schools have their summer recess, where SoC was advertized while students were still in class
- On top of that, I have to imagine that GSoC was advertized more broadly than WSOP
- GSoC was open to both men and women, and WSOP is open only to women (AbiWord got some decent female candidates, for instance)
The projects don't differ substantially in terms of size, scope, complexity, or requisite skills.
From these talking points, it stands to reason that there should be fewer applicants (and perhaps even fewer qualified applicants) in WSOP than GSoC. But the evidence hasn't borne out that way. There's probably some "eureka" thing going on here, and I'd like to find out what that is. It's something to understand and act on, unlike Murray's "we're doing so badly, we should try anything just so we don't look like we're doing nothing" proposal. I'm interested in ensuring that GNOME offers equality of opportunity to all, and your answers will help me understand what the community is doing right and what we're doing wrong.
So, if you are a WSOP applicant, would you be so kind as to email domlachowicz <at> gmail dot com with your experience or opinions? I'd love to hear them, and will pass them on to the appropriate people. Better still, if the WSOP program would like to survey their applicants in a more formal way, that would be much more productive.
And for the record, I don't want to hear conjecture from non-applicants. I want this "straight from the horse's mouth", so to speak. Consider this to be a sociological survey.
 Citation needed. GNOME's mailing list archives recently got nuked, and part of the May foundation-list "Code of Conduct" thread is missing.