About 95% of open source contributors are men, while just 3% are women, according to a new Open Source survey conducted by GitHub and collaborators from academia, industry and the open source community.
While women were about as likely as men to say they are very interested in making open source contributions in the future, they were less likely to say they are very likely to actually do so, according to the survey, which garnered 5,500 responses.
Women also said they are more likely than men to encounter language or content that makes them feel unwelcome, experiencing both stereotyping and unsolicited sexual advances, the survey found.
The gender imbalance in open source is significant, but it is fixable. Making women feel more comfortable in the open source community could go a long way to ensuring better participation.
Open source continues to grow in popularity, and more companies are turning toward open-source technology as their development backbone. But fostering a diverse development community is important, particularly for careers and future job opportunities. Half of the open source contributors that responded to the survey said their open source work was "somewhat or very important in getting their current role."
The lack of gender diversity in tech is an ongoing issue companies have been working to solve. Overall, women are still the minority in technology, making up only about 26% of computer and mathematical jobs nationwide, according to SmartAsset. If unfair treatment persists in the workplace, many are inclined to leave their positions, costing companies as much as $16 billion per year.