This page has planning notes for organizations. Please see the main program page for information about the program.

This page contains the information for organizations interested in participating in the Outreach Program for Women internships that will take place from January 2 through April 2, 2013.

Background Information

GNOME Outreach Program for Women (OPW) internships were inspired in many ways by Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and by how few women have applied to work on GNOME through it in the past. In 2006, GNOME had 181 GSoC applicants, and none of them appeared to be women. That was when we created our first internship program for women, Women's Summer Outreach Program, in which 6 women participated. After having at most one woman participate in GSoC with GNOME in some of the subsequent years, in 2010 we reintroduced the internships for women as a more continuous effort.

Since December 2010, we organized 4 rounds of internships, with 2 rounds a year. 45 women worked as interns on GNOME either through OPW or GSoC. 4 of these women first participated in OPW and then continued their work on GNOME by participating in GSoC. We organize the summer round during the same time as GSoC, which allows us to encourage women who qualify for GSoC because they are students and coders to apply for GSoC. Thus, we had 7 women participate in GSoC in 2011 and 5 women participate in GSoC in 2012, out of 27 and 29 students respectively.

Accomplishments of the participants from each round are described here: round 1, round 2, round 3, round 4.

6 women who were interns became mentors in OPW or GSoC in subsequent rounds and well over half continue participating in the GNOME community. Women attendance at GNOME's yearly conference, GUADEC, rose from 4% (6 women) to 17% (41 woman) in 3 years.

This summer, the Software Freedom Conservancy joined the Outreach Program for Women with one internship with the Twisted project. Additionally, they had one woman participate in GSoC with Twisted after being encouraged by the outreach program.

We are now organizing a winter round in which multiple organization can participate.


Women are under-represented in Free and Open Source Software development, even as compared with the number of women studying Computer Science in colleges around the world and with the number of women employed in proprietary software development. What we learned from the applications we receive is that there are many women who have the qualifications and interest to become Free Software contributors, but are not sure where to start. Beyond that, it's important that we reach more women with the information that the Free Software community is (by and large) mature and friendly, and that contributing to Free Software is valuable for both social and professional reasons. By growing the number of women in the community, we are growing the community and improving our ability to reach even more people.

The program provides a collaborative environment in which women can get help working on their first contributions and a concrete opportunity for them to dedicate a full-time effort to learning and contributing to Free Software. The program also assists women with finding mentors to help them with their projects.

The outreach efforts like this one also result in the improvements for all newcomers. For example, the mentors list that GNOME started with 9 mentors for the first round of OPW, is now a general resource that contains 43 mentors. We also improved how we engage GSoC students with the community based on our OPW experience, by requiring them to work with mentors on an initial contribution during the application period and by incorporating the required blog posts about their work on Planet GNOME.

Making the community a friendly and non-offensive place for women also makes it such for all newcomers.


  • November 14: program announced and application form made available
  • November 14 - December 3: applicants need to get in touch with at least one project and make a contribution to it
  • December 3: application deadline
  • December 11: accepted participants announced
  • January 2 - April 2: internship period

Participating Organizations

Please see the list of participating organizations on the main program page.

How it Works

To participate in the program, your organization needs to make one or more mentors available who will work with the applicants and the eventual participants. Your organization also needs to provide $5,000 (USD) stipend for at least one internship. We will be looking into a possibility of additional stipends being provided for the program by corporate sponsors.

Please create a page about the opportunities and mentors in your organization similar to the GNOME's page. Feel free to copy and make any needed changes to the application form as well.

We are looking into having 7-10 organizations participate in this round and are hoping to organize a larger round this summer. The advantages of doing a winter round are that there are more people who can be mentors because they are not busy with mentoring for GSoC, this works well for students from the Southern Hemisphere, and we are catching up twice as fast increasing women's participation in Free Software with two rounds a year. The advantage of doing a summer round is that you can encourage women who are students applying to work on code to apply for GSoC.

Please let Marina Zhurakhinskaya know if your organization would like to participate, as well as if you have any questions.

Intern Eligibility

Any woman who has not previously participated in an OPW or GSoC internship is welcome to apply, provided she is available for a full-time internship from January 2 to April 2. This program is open to anyone who identifies herself as a woman.

Because the program is intended to help newcomers and contributors who are relatively new to the Free Software community to get more involved, we unfortunately can't accept past participants of OPW or GSoC internships. However, if they qualify, past participants are more than welcome to apply for GSoC in the future.


GNOME has previously had interns working on software development, web development, user experience design, graphic design, user and developer documentation, marketing and translation. Each organization is welcome to define its own set of internship tasks that is available.

Mentoring During the Application Process

The organizations should set up a page with a list of mentors and information about possible internship projects.

All applicants should be required to make a small contribution to the project they are applying to work on. The project mentors should be available to recommend the bug or a non-coding task the applicant should work on and to provide help with the setup and the information needed to complete that task. The ability of the applicant to complete the task or multiple tasks during the application process is an important selection criteria. This is how we know the applicant has the willingness to learn and the ability to dive in into the work on the project.

Mentors should discuss with the applicants the details of the work they'll be doing during the internship period. It is best if the accepted participants work as part of the team, starting with smaller tasks (i.e. bugs) and progressing over time to more complex tasks (i.e. features), with each task being suggested by the mentor based on the current priorities of the team. So the applicants just need to know what areas of the project they are likely to work on and a tentative timeline.

The project should consist of manageable and relevant tasks that the intern can land in the main code-base throughout the internship period. Stand-alone projects proposed by an applicant are not suitable at all for people who are not established contributors. Please try to avoid situations when participants work on features that are not yet designed or agreed-upon, have too many moving parts, and would only land in the main code-base after the internship is over as a best-case scenario. This rarely works out. Instead, look for agreed-upon manageable bugs and small features that have a shared theme and would allow the participant to feel the satisfaction of landing her code throughout the internship.

Good mentorship is a cornerstone of this program. These resources are very useful for prospective mentors to review prior to participating in the program for the first time:

Selection Process

Applicants will send their general inquiries and applications to , which is a private list for the program's coordinators and mentors. Please subscribe to that list if you are a coordinator or a mentor. It's up to each individual organization to decide which applicants it would like to accept. Orgaization's coordinators should coordinate that process. People from different organizations will be able to communicate about the selection process and other issues on .

Let's encourage people to submit their applications early and redirect strong applicants beyond the number your organization is likely to be able to accept to other organizations.


The internship is expected to be a full-time effort, meaning that the participants must be able to spend 40 hours a week on their project. Participants will work remotely from home, unless the organization has physical space it would like to make available for the intern to work. Participants will be expected to be on the relevant IRC channels while working. They will also be expected to communicate electronically with other project members via other means, including bug tracker comments, mailing list discussions, blog posts, and personal e-mail. Participants will be expected to blog at least once every two weeks about their work and their blog posts should be included on the organization's blog aggregator site (e.g. planet) or made visible to other organization contributors in some other way.

It's a good idea to bring the interns to any conferences or relevant hackfests your organization has or participates in during or after the internship period, especially ones where they can meet their mentors.


The GNOME Foundation will be able to handle making payments to all interns. The individual organizations will need to transfer the total stipend amount for their interns to the GNOME Foundation ahead of time. Alternatively, the individual organizations will have an option of handling their own payments to the interns.

The stipend for each participant is $5,000 (USD), with $500 sent on January 8 to participants who have begun their internships, $2250 on February 20 to participants in good standing with their mentors, and $2250 on April 9 to participants who have successfully completed their internships.

GnomeWomen/FOSSOutreachProgram (last edited 2012-11-14 23:02:34 by MarinaZ)