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Diversity Measures

This page lists some measures by the FSFE to improve diversity within the FSFE (at the moment with a focus on gender diversity). We know that we ourselves still have to work hard to be that place where everyone feels safe and respected to participate in. But it is needed in order to fulfil the movement's mission to empower users to control technology. All measures below are work in progress and we believe that beside all of them the most important point is that FSFE's contributors and staff are aware about societies inequalities, consider them in their daily work for software freedom, and we work together as society to further improve the situation.


Diversity and in particular gender equality is a topic we try to cover in different trainings. In the last years we focused on trainings for staff and our CARE team, but in future we want to enlarge the offer to other volunteers as well.


We try to encourage women to get active in the FSFE and support contributors from under-represented groups. This includes, that we encourage them to join our teams, mentor them, or to invite them to events so we can meet them.

We currently support the "FSFE women" group, which is meeting monthly. The group started for the German speaking area, but meanwhile opened to include all women inside the FSFE. We are currently supporting them with technical infrastructure, help them with getting good speakers for their meetings, paid for a logo for the group, and will financially support physical meetings and networking.

Implemented Code of Conduct

We have had long discussions about what should be part of a Code of Conduct for the FSFE, created it, and then implemented our Code of Conduct for the organisation , have trained staff how to work with and enforcing it.


The FSFE wants to be a place for employees regardless of their age, ability or disability, gender identity, sex, race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation and believes in making reasonable accommodation such as providing time and place flexibility, to accommodate the needs of (single) parents, other careers, younger and older employees, or employees with special needs.

We are family-friendly and understand that sometimes you’ll need flexibility on your work schedule, including the possibility of working part-time. We find flexible solutions when children or relatives are sick and have to be taken care of. Beside that several senior members of the staff have taken longer parental leaves or for a longer time reduced their working hours to adjust with the needs of the family.

Employment evaluation All employees are evaluated in the same time frame with equal criteria to support their further progress and potential salary increases. We are working to further institutionalise current measures in place against discrimination for FSFE careers of staff.

In our hiring processes we introduced steps to increase the likelihood of more diverse staff mainly by: open job postings, considering gender in the description for qualifications, explicit mention of discrimination in the posting.

Development of women working for the FSFE

Below you see how many women have worked in the FSFE in the different years.









































Diversity of our General Assembly

Since the 2018 workshop we have intensified internal discussions in groups and between individuals in the organisation about the topic on all levels, including the General Assembly. E.g. at the General Assembly we watched the RBG documentary and had further discussions no the topic of gender equality and how we can improve within the FSFE.

In our 2021 General Assembly minutes (PDF), our Vice President "Heiki Lõhmus raises the need for FSFE to continue working to increase diversity and inclusion within the organization. Heiki points out that while the Council cannot in any way be complacent and much work remains to be done to ensure equitable representation of women at all levels of seniority amongst the FSFE workforce, the most serious and persistent lack of gender diversity in the organization occurs amongst the membership itself. Hence, Heiki invites each and every member to find and sponsor a suitable candidate from an underrepresented demographic for membership in the FSFE before the next annual general meeting"

Balanced gender visibility on website

Our goal is to highlight the participation of people in the FSFE whom we or they themselves identify as part of a traditionally marginalised demographic in technology.

Mailing lists / Discourse

The moderation on our mailing lists improved, and more people start getting engaged earlier in discussions if there are issues. We also banned people from the lists, if they did not consider changing their behaviour.

We also introduced Discourse as a platform for less technical people to have Free Software discussions; where it is also easier to moderate discussions. It is currently mainly used for comments about news items, else most of the discussions still take place on the public mailing lists.

Local groups

We had an issue with some groups who were critical about a Code of Conduct; which is now a precondition to be an FSFE local group. In that process we had to separate ourselves from one group which did not want to adhere to the CoC; and which is meanwhile not an official FSFE group anymore.

Resistance in some areas of work

In some areas of our work there was larger resistance towards adhering to our CoC as we made clear that the CoC applies to everybody, no matter what position or knowledge they have in the Free Software area. That was true in the FSFE's Legal Network. During the last years there was an improvement how participants behave towards each other and towards FSFE staff and volunteers, while a couple left as they did not agree with how we enforced our CoC on the mailing list.

Two high level participants had to be excluded from our activities, a measure we took, although we were told before that we will loose sponsorship contributions for our Legal and Licensing workshop (which also happened for several thousand Euros).

Meanwhile we have adopted a special CoC for the Legal Network, together with the Legal Network Council, which is a body that itself has a balanced ratio of men and women since the introduction of it, and we received positive feedback about our measures by women participating in the network.


At our own events we encourage female speakers, new speakers, and speakers from different countries. E.g. the FSFE summit, the Legal and Licensing Workshop, or the IloveFS event. It is still difficult to find women for some topics, but platforms like are very helpful in that regard.

When FSFE volunteers and staff are invited to events, we encourage them to ask about the gender ratio of the event and suggest speakers from under represented groups towards the organisers.

Balanced gender visibility in projects

Our goal is that new projects consider gender visibility from the beginning on. Below a few examples:

Awareness on our website and mailings

Our goal is to have an inclusive website presence. This includes gender suitable language on website to be more inclusive for main languages and the usage of inclusive pictures when possible.

Furthermore in the editing and translations we are particularly careful on the wording to be as inclusive as possible.

We encourage website visitors to give us feedback how well we are doing on this regard and give us feedback. We have discussed doing yearly checks for our website and publications through diversity glasses; like checking website pictures and language, but did not yet implement that.

Merchandise: break with stereotypes

For our merchandise we also try to sometimes break with some gender stereotypes. For example we decided to have a pink T-shirt for men, and communicated it like this at booths, micro blogging platforms, mailings, etc, also with the pink baby bib which we advertised for all genders. The goal here is to get into discussion with people about diversity topics at our booths.

KnowHow/FSFELife/DiversityMeasures (last edited 2024-04-29 11:57:26 by irakli)