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Re: [board-discuss] Diversity Is Key?

I favour having one or two seats reserved for appointment by the board
rather than by election, so that missing skills or representations can be
temporarily addressed. OSI just did this, for example.


On Mon, 2 Dec 2019, 23:22 Sam Tuke, <> wrote:

Thanks Thorsten; that's very helpful context. The 48% chance you
referenced does indicate that the issue is still larger than this
particular election. It's also worth noting that Gabriele, Italo, and
others did a great job of reminding us of the opportunity to stand, and the

As the election has a strict timetable, it seems that a procedural change
would now be necessary in order to avoid a board devoid of women.

Were procedural changes possible, they could include extending the
nomination phase, or keeping one or more seats open explicitly for a female
board member in future. If such changes are impossible, then those ideas
could be explored by the next board.

Thoughts from other Board members or Trustees? This might be the most
direct stimulus to this subject for another two years.



On Sat, 30 Nov, 2019 at 15:14, Thorsten Behrens <>

Hi Sam, Sam Tuke wrote:

This is a problem which past Boards and Membership Committees have no
doubt worked on; perhaps those people can say more about their efforts and

Right - it's been a topic for board and MC discussions at the very least
since 2015 (if my memory serves me). That year saw the formation of
LibreLadies, had a number of diversity talks at the conference, and the
board started working on a code of conduct. Also (but perhaps Sophie can
fill in with more details), IIRC the year before we started to try &
balance conference travel bursaries a bit better, to ensure participants
from far-away places get a chance to attend the conference.

I understand that contributors with non-technical backgrounds make up a
minority percentage of the Foundation's members.

I'm not sure about that. Additionally my impression is, the membership
committee does a good job encouraging contributors to become members of the
Foundation, so I believe that body is ~representative of our community
(whether diversity among _contributors_ could be improved is a different,
but equally important question). Because that's relatively easy to derive
from the members list: I currently count at least 15 female members, which
constitutes a bit more than 7% of our membership. That's more than the
average opensource female developer ratio (good news, but probably due to
our mix of also non-developer members), but much less than I would expect
from industry averages in the professions that would likely be found among
our contributors. Sticking that into the helpful diversity calculator (,
the situation we find ourselves in for this board election, and that
started this thread, has a probability of 48%. Which is a problem, because
for increasing diversity, you want representation. Beyond that, there's the
obvious negative signalling effect. The upcoming board will thus be the
first since 2011 without a female member. :/ In conclusion, I'm decidedly
unhappy about the current situation (while other aspects of the candidate
list are encouraging), believe that we must do better here, and said so in
my candidacy statement. What's additionally sad, is that past attempts to
move the needle where so frustrating for some participants, that they gave
up, or simply left. All the best, -- Thorsten


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