Group: Women's Caucus/Resources/Mentoring information

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Many folks have asked for references related to mentoring newcomers to Free Software projects. It has been well documented that women lack role models and mentors in the technical field, and these resources provide useful guidance on how to establish mentoring programs, run a mentoring program within your community, and create a welcoming environment that encourages newcomer contributions. None of these resources is specific to recruiting or retaining women within a community, so if anyone has links to such resources or any other useful mentoring-related resources please do add them!


Denise Paolucci and Mark Smith of the Dreamwidth project reprised their excellent talk Build Your Own Conributors (One Part at a Time) at OSCON 2010. You can find the talk abstract and slides linked from this page. It is well worth reviewing the entire presentation and noting that 75%+ of the Dreamwidth project's contributors are women.

One key point made by Denise in this and other presentations is the importance of a diversity statement to help attract a diverse set of contributors. By explicitly stating that a community welcomes those of any gender, sexual preference, etc., that community makes itself that much more inviting from a cultural standpoint. Just to illustrate the power of this tactic, Dreamwidth's diversity statement is the second Google search result for "diversity statement," at least at the time of writing.

Liz Henry's talk Code of Our Own also has some fantastic points to make, most notably the importance of in person contact when building community amongst women.


A group of several mentors for the Google Summer of Code program composed a Mentoring Manual to help new mentors better understand how to participate in the program. While a decent amount of this manual is specific to Summer of Code, a great deal of it is useful for any mentoring relationship, particularly the chapter on communication. The explicit goal when creating the manual was to produce a work that could easily be made generic for mentoring in free software projects. The content is licensed Creative Commons SA-BY 3.0 and was produced by gender balanced team (50/50 men and women).

The Google Summer of Code project also maintains a wiki with an entire page of advice for mentors. Again, there's useful content here beyond any consideration of the program, particularly the "Mentoring Organization Best Practices" section and some of the linked resources, such as the Mentor Summit Wiki.


There is an excellent post on the Geek Feminism blog on Mentoring a Geeky Teen. See the comments for useful advice from the Geek Feminism community.