Work Practices and Perceptions from Women Core Developers in OSS Communities

Edna Dias Canedo, Rodrigo Bonifácio de Almeida, Márcio Vinicius Okimoto, Alexander Serebrenik, Gustavo Pinto, Eduardo Monteiro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The effect of gender diversity in open source communities has gained increasing attention from practitioners and researchers. For instance, organizations such as the Python Software Foundation and the OpenStack Foundation started actions to increase gender diversity and promote women to top positions in the communities. Problem. Although the general underrepresentation of women (a.k.a. horizontal segregation) in open source communities has been explored in a number of research studies, little is known about the vertical segregation in open source communities- which occurs when there are fewer women in high level positions. Aims. To address this research gap, in this paper we present the results of a mixed-methods study on gender diversity and work practices of core developers contributing to open-source communities. Method. In the first study, we used mining-software repositories procedures to identify the core developers of 711 open source projects, in order to understand how common are women core developers in open source communities and characterize their work practices. In the second study, we surveyed the women core developers we identified in the first study to collect their perceptions of gender diversity and gender bias they might have observed while contributing to open source systems. Results. Our findings show that open source communities present both horizontal and vertical segregation (only 2.3% of the core developers are women). Nevertheless, differently from previous studies, most of the women core developers (65.7%) report never having experienced gender discrimination when contributing to an open source project. Finally, we did not note substantial differences between the work practices among women and men core developers. Conclusions. We reflect on these findings and present some ideas that might increase the participation of women in open source communities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationESEM 2020 - Proceedings of the 14th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
ISBN (Electronic)9781450375801
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2020


  • Core Developer
  • Gender Diversity
  • OSS Community
  • Vertical Segregation


Dive into the research topics of 'Work Practices and Perceptions from Women Core Developers in OSS Communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this